Claire Oshetsky's novel is a marvel: its language a joy, its imagination dizzying. Every time I thought I had cracked Chouette's central metaphor - aha, it's about motherhood! No, marriage! No, music! - the book flew out my grasp like a wary bird. It's a truly exhilarating read.
Written in perfectly balanced prose, Chouette does what the very best fantastical work does: it renders a vividly absurd picture which, as we look closer, depicts our reality more sharply than any realism could do. Exuberant, maddened, and sly, this book gives more straight-talk about the vagaries of motherhood than a dozen how-to manuals.
Frighteningly elegant, darkly funny, horrifyingly tender . . . Like all the best fables, Chouette locates a current of human darkness pulsing just below its surface. . . Oshetsky has produced a troubling triumph that is brave enough to leave its biggest questions unanswered.
Searing and ethereal . . . In fiction, supernatural premises are notoriously hard to land, but Chouette's final moments are among its loveliest. Human and owl meet in equal measure on the page in a crescendo of stunning lines. Just as Tiny longs for the world to meet her daughter where she is instead of forcing her into societal norms, Chouette is best met where it resides: as a harrowing and magnificent fable.
Oshetsky describes the novel as being inspired by her experience of raising "non-conforming children", and is herself autistic. Her depiction of a baby who misses its developmental milestones, doesn't speak and lashes out when frightened will be familiar to some families with experience of disability or neurodiversity. Chouette is a sublime parable of mother-love which ferociously eviscerates society's failure to accept nonconformity . . . It would not surprise me if Chouette finds a place in the feminist literary canon. It has lingered in my mind in a way that only the most original works do.
Viscous, tender, baffling, and glorious, Chouette is an unforgettable fairy tale that glitters darkly with Oshetsky's raw and soaring brilliance. Part love letter, part lament, Chouette astonishes as each perfected sentence burrows deep into the maternal shadows of love, possession, selfhood, and sanity. A bone-deep, breathtaking wonder.
Chouette is deeply felt, linguistically gorgeous, and wonderfully disorienting up to its final breathless pages-a stunning meditation on motherhood and identity truly unlike anything I've ever read before.
This wildly imagined debut presents a parable of maternal love unlike any other you'll have encountered . . . Dark wit, tenderness, music, enchantment - they're all part of a story that remains oddly relatable despite its dazzling strangeness.
From the dark woods of motherhood, Chouette swoops - fierce, feral, poetic and deft. From an extraordinary beginning to its ecstatic end, I was gripped and held by this beautiful and deeply strange fable. A singular and inventive book about maternal instinct and helping the children we are gifted to find their own distinct forms of flight.
An intensely strange and moving novel, Chouette is unlike anything else. It renders maternal love with mythological ferocity. Weird and darkly witty, Chouette kept drawing me deeper into its wild and dangerous territories.
Chouette is a hypnotic read that captures the strangeness and ferocity of motherhood - poetic, dark and striking.
There are many stories that address the myriad themes of motherhood, but it would be hard to find one that did it in such an utterly original way as Chouette. Drawing on her own experiences of mothering non-conforming children, Oshetsky weaves a contemporary fable so affecting, yet brimming with humour and life, that you'll probably tear through it in one sitting.