Review: Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke by Eric LaRocca

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Synopsis:

A whirlpool of darkness churns at the heart of a macabre ballet between two lonely young women in an internet chat room in the early 2000s—a darkness that threatens to forever transform them once they finally succumb to their most horrific desires.

What have you done today to deserve your eyes?

Review:

There are many times when I have read a book and have sat on reviewing it because I really do not know what to think. After reading Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke by Eric LaRocca, I have spent a few weeks thinking about it, about the story and the hype and gathering my thoughts. I bought this from WeirdPunk Books when it first came out, and now that it has been sold to Titan Books and will be rereleased in September with extra stories, I decided that now would be the right time to review it.

One of the first things that is really striking, and one of the first things that created a buzz about this novella is the cover. The cover is gorgeous in a bloody, disturbing way. This and the title automatically puts us in a mood before we even open the book. There are many times when the cover or the title makes us want to read something, but the combination of these two things is rare and our curiosity gets the better of us, even if we have no clue what the story is about.

The novella is very short, and the story written in an epistolary style with two characters exchanging emails and instant messenger conversations. The conversation starts out innocuous enough, with the selling of an antique apple peeler, but it quickly moves to things that are dark and disturbing. Both of the women, Agnes and Zoe, seem to have their troubles, and Agnes fall into the games that are being played much harder than Zoe. There is a deep sadness at the core of both of these characters, like their ability to do the things they do to each other and for each other shows that there are problems that run much deeper than those that are written. We are given room to speculate all of these things because LaRocca only gives us the minimum of their stories. The written is effective, but the characters that are unwritten fills us with even more questions about them. 

In the end, this is a polarizing book, people either love it or hate it, but there is still a reaction. Eric LaRocca has written something that does have deeper meanings and more questions than it has answers, and some people enjoy that type of fiction where as others do not. Either way, LaRocca has strength in their writing voice and will be widely read as long as they continue to write. 

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