“Maybe the machine could see the words she never spoke. Maybe they blazed in her bones. Maybe if the people in the white coats blew up the pictures they’d see her thoughts, mapped like mountains and railroad tracks, across her ghostly skull. Hanna knew nothing was wrong with her. But Mommy wanted them to look again.” BABY TEETH
Seven year old, Hanna wants to kill her mother. She doesn’t speak. She growls, barks and makes other animal noises. Sometimes she writes out the words she can speak, but won’t. Suzette, Hanna’s Mommy is in on the whole scam, but Daddy doesn’t want to upset his little girl and he thinks Hanna will eventually talk.
BABY TEETH (St.Martin’sPress) by debut author, Zoje Stage will have you questioning all the assumptions you have about parenting. It’s a delicious, unnerving story that gets under your skin and creeps you out to the very last page.
It showcases domesticity on a frustrating level, pitting mother against daughter. Hanna displays childhood psychopathy – repeatedly being thrown out of schools and terrorizing babysitters, while mommy questions her own self-worth. BABY TEETH is a portrait of demented child-rearing, a dark twisted story with palpable moments of fear, terror and nastiness from one of the youngest villains in fiction.
What I loved about BABY TEETH is that it reads visually. I saw the movie playing as I quickly flipped pages. What is didn’t appreciate so much, is how redundant it felt about half-way through. We got it … and I’m not giving anything away. Hanna is a manipulative little monster and Suzette juggles wanting to strangle her, while at the same time wondering what she could do to change the dynamics. It’s also kind of funny until it isn’t funny anymore.
I can’t wait to read what Zoje Stage writes next.
Before turning to novels, Zoje (pron: zoh-yuh) Stage had a deep and eclectic background in film and theatre. Highlights include being a 2012 Emerging Storytellers Fellow from the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP.org), and a 2008 Fellow in Screenwriting from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA.org). In 2009 she won the Screenplay Live! Screenwriting Competition, which afforded her the opportunity to direct a staged reading of her winning script, THE MACHINE WHO LOVED, for the High Falls Film Festival (Rochester, NY). Zoje has written-directed-produced numerous zero-budget films, including the documentary short BEST OF LUCK (“an amusing take on the travails of aspiring writers” – The New York Times). Her films have screened at venues such as Anthology Film Archives and Two Boots Pioneer Theater (both in NYC), Film Kitchen (Pittsburgh, PA), and Emerging Filmmakers (Rochester, NY). As a playwright, Zoje is most proud of her play MONSTER, which was produced in Pittsburgh by the Upstairs Theatre (“Ms. Stage now makes her own contribution to holocaust literature with a demanding and intensely felt play… a must-see for those wanting another view of why and how the holocaust happened.” – The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). After living in Rochester, NY for many years, she is back in her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.
BABY TEETH will be published July 17th, so you have time to pre-order your copy on-line or at your favorite independent bookstore.
Thanks to St. Martin Press, we have one copy of BABY TEETH to giveaway. Just tell us the latest thriller you read that you enjoyed and why! We’ll announce a winner soon. Good luck.
GIVEAWAY: USA only, please.