Okay okay–why aren’t more people talking about this book?! This will probably be on my top 10 list for 2022. I know it came out a bit ago but my goodness…people need to share more about The Mud Ballad!
It starts out with twin brothers connected by the forehead and in order to get separated by the traveling circus doctor, they decide one had to kill the other–so they do it. Years afterward the living brother is struggling and would do anything to get his brother back, with the help of the circus doctor he meets again.
This was a story I wasn’t expecting at all. It was so refreshing and unique, I couldn’t help but to fall in love with it. It had so many creepy, weird moments of horror, body horror, supernatural elements, monsters and ridiculous gore. When I tell you I was literally cackling in the middle of Starbucks while reading about some really gross body horror, I was CACKLING. It gave me life and that’s an easy way to get a full five stars from me.
The writing was really easy to read and the story was fun to follow. There are multiple perspectives but not overdone or pointless. The author really did an amazing job showing the reader how the book’s world is similar to ours but completely different at the same time. Quenell doesn’t hit you over the head with trying to explain the questionable things characters/society does in this–things are the way they are because..well that’s just how they are and it worked! I didn’t question it, I would just go “huh..that’s wild” and just continue on. That’s good storytelling in my opinion.
Overall, I obviously enjoyed this book a lot and plan on rereading it later on in the year. This just might be a new weird little comfort read for me (don’t ask).
If you like the 90’s films FREAKS and PEEWEE’S BIG ADVENTURE then you just might like this book. It gives off the same vibe and it’s perfection.
And yes there are content warnings–if you have any, look into them.
Author: Jo Quenell
Brilliant cover photo by @nealauch