Husk may be Zeltserman’s best book to date. Charlie’s narrative is a bit stilted, enough so that we realize from the jump that the boy is not quite right. There’s a touch of humor here and there -particularly when Zeltserman subtly inserts himself into the story for just a moment or two - but it’s sparingly and deftly applied. Many of the twists and turns are saved for the final third of the novel, but they come hard, fast and heavy, right up to the last sentence, which is one of the best I have read this year. Don’t bother looking at it first, as it will make little sense unless you read what has gone before. You should definitely do that.
In Zeltserman’s disappointing contemporary monster tale, a backwoods cannibal strives to break away from his murderous clan after he falls in love with a city girl ... Charlie struggles with and repeatedly references his otherness, and people have shocked reactions when his 'mask' slips, but whether his strangeness is purely human or of supernatural origin remains unclear to the reader. A final twist at the end fails to elevate this hard-to-stomach love story.
Charlie Husk is a cannibal, a member of a clan of flesh-eaters who live hidden away from the world. His job is to travel into civilization, abduct people, and bring them back to the clan ... When he falls in love with a human girl, Charlie’s whole life changes ... Zeltserman keeps the story grounded in reality, giving Charlie practical problems to overcome, and the story is at once tender, brutal, fantastic, and vibrantly real. A unique and splendid novel.