Vern — seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised — flees for the shelter of the woods, hunted by something and developing her own supernatural powers.
a story you simply won’t see coming. You might think you’ve figured out the pillars of its structure after a few chapters, or come to truly understand its protagonist after walking a few dozen pages with her, but to read this powerful, moving and terrifying novel is to enter into a constant state of change. The story envelops you slowly, like a cocoon, wrapping you in its ever-increasing depth and heart until you emerge, at the end, transformed ... As Vern gradually awakens to the wider world and its wonders and terrors, Solomon charts her journey through prose that is both economical and fiercely emotional. What’s most striking is the way in which Solomon captures Vern’s creeping, often frightening realization that the world is altogether more complex and monstrous than she once thought ... Full of horror, love and incisive observation, Sorrowland is so perfectly plotted that readers won’t be able to predict what’s to come any better than Vern can. It’s a truly powerful piece of storytelling.
Solomon is fearless in faer depiction of queer sexuality and unafraid to let it be selfish, feral ... Nothing about Solomon’s work attempts to be 'acceptable,' or, rather, it explicitly questions what acceptability means, rejects it, and rejects whomever is creating those rules of presentation ... Sorrowland both is and is not a horror story, both is and is not Gothic. There is never a moment of violence or pain that is not psychologically worked-over, never senseless hurt, never without remorse or consideration. It is never simply grotesque, but instead the acts of violence or monstrousness in this novel feel deliberate and revealing. However, I’m not sure I ever felt a sense of dread or hopelessness that typically characterizes Gothic horror fiction. I believed in Vern’s strength and rooted for her.
... an exhilarating journey to the outer limits of science fiction, steeped in the southern gothic tradition and grounded in the physical and social realities of being poor, powerless, black and female in America ... A furious, justified anger drives this novel, drawing on the US history of racial oppression, but it’s also joyful and wildly entertaining.