Food critic Dorothy Daniels loves what she does. Discerning, meticulous, and very, very smart, Dorothy's clear mastery of the culinary arts make it likely that she could, on any given night, whip up a more inspired dish than any one of the chefs she writes about. But there is something within Dorothy that's different from everyone else, and having suppressed it long enough, she starts to embrace what makes Dorothy uniquely, terrifyingly herself. Chelsea G. Summers' debut novel A Certain Hunger introduces us to the food world's most charming psychopath.
A Certain Hunger is not a horror novel or a thriller but more like a symbolic comedy determined to make the whole 'ironic misandry' schtick into something complicated and engaging ... I’m sure a handful of readers will find A Certain Hunger insulting to their masculinity, or misread it as a Satanic call to feminists everywhere to spatchcock their husbands. But most readers will find Summers to be a writer in charge of compelling new powers, and the sheer absence of guilt or remorse in Dorothy a refreshing antidote to the anxious moral calculus so popular in much contemporary fiction. A Certain Hunger is a swaggering, audacious debut, and a celebration of all the wet, hot pleasures of human contact.
In a culture that fetishizes male power, the heroine of A Certain Hunger is a rapacious, bloodthirsty monster—a perversion of every male fear ... the book is sometimes overwhelming. Its layered descriptions distract from its plot: with so many images on the table, characters are lost ... A Certain Hunger is a hearty novel that, despite its graphic themes of murder, flesh eating, sex, and the dessert menu, is also quite funny. With direct jabs at toxic masculinity and razor-sharp awareness of feminist tropes, Chelsea G. Summers’s novel is a slasher-sexy, rich satire.
Presented as a prison memoir, this tale is narrated by the funny and astute Dorothy Daniels, a food critic who just happens to be an unrepentant cannibalistic serial killer ... The psychopathic, darkly feminist antihero can be viewed as a big middle finger to the common practice of judging a female protagonist on her 'likability' or 'relatability.' ... You won’t soon forget Dorothy or her delicious insights, but fair warning: This book might turn you into a vegetarian, if you aren’t already. (Though as Dorothy herself acknowledges, 'It’s surprisingly easy to overcome moral qualms, if you give in to the appetite.')