A Pretty Mouth
Lazy Fascist Press, 2012
Molly Tanzer’s A Pretty Mouth is the clenched jaw—teeth grind in sleep.
But you are not asleep, dear reader.
You are entrenched in a family history much stranger and more gruesome than your own: Calipash, octopus, blood-soul, Roman.
You need a drink.
And pearls of the Weird are deliciously stirred, threaded under skin-pendants and sex rituals to titillate and terrify in the same gasping breath.
Fathom, mouth, what lurks under the visage or how they keep her locked in the basement with all those novels.
Begin—Jeeves is here, delivered in such Wodehousian clarity that we stop, ask ourselves if this is not somehow a lost Wooster yarn, but Tanzer laughs, writes on, conjuring like mad, ever placing us somehow outside of the present, yet in a realm of her own creation. In a Tanzerian history, there will be shadows to bite lips.
She has been there, will show you secrets and how to change shape, keep bending and moan. She grins her own Calipash whisper from the chamber window.
But it’s night now.
Until the end.
It’s October and you stay with her, the spectator of a perverse stage show, poem-licked earlobe and he’s stroking your hand, cloaked drawing blood and don’t worry about the bandages or the cricket bats or the pistol smoke. Just don’t tell your parents.
And you’ve been cared for: Tanzer has already taken you to where she wanted to go without you knowing this is how it all ends: mystery, humor, dread, suspense, romance, and obelisk injections in gums so the threads run laps around your tongue, until you’re in the midst of a dagger or an octopus and something is pulsing, something gooey has shifted down there.
Shut the book and glow.
Step back out to the street and walk.
Nights like this are darker.
By Jaime Grefe