Rouge by  Mona Awad

Rouge

Mona Awad

Belle, a woman of mixed ethnicity, is obsessed by beauty. After the death of her French, perfect, nymphomaniac of a mother she gets in an emotionally unbalanced state. When she decides to get a free treatment in a sinister wellness centre things get more and more dark. I found this a terrible, weird, haunting and creepy read, something to devour at Halloween.

Extract

I stare at the red jellyfish, their bell-shaped heads pulsing in the bright aqua water. It looks like another time, another world, behind the glass. Mesmerizing to watch them undulate and float, trailing all those tangly tentacles. I can't seem to stop staring. Beautiful up close, I’m up close now. Somehow I've walked myself right up to the tank without realizing. I'm inches from the glass, staring deeply into the blue-green of this small sea. The light is what draws me. How it reflects me back to myself in the warped glass. And what I see there. Me as I’ve never seen myself before. Glowing skin. My features sharp as Mother’s. I'm smiling. I don't feel like I'm smiling, but there I am, smiling, in the glass. Gone are the folds around my mouth; the scar on my forehead; my misery lines; the sad, slack jaw and the puffy, dark-ringed eyes. All is sharp and taut. All sparkles. Brightly. Whitely. Beautiful.

Parallels
  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Crimson Peak - the film
  • The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher