Publisher: Subterranean Press
Author: Kim Harrison
Release: March 31st, 2019
Warnings: Phobias, anxiety, delusions
I received a copy of Perfunctory Affection through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Perfunctory Affection is the newest novella from Kim Harrison. It explores the concepts of love, perfection, life, truth, and understanding. It’s a heavy but fascinating read, delving deep into anxiety, depression, and delusions.
This novella lands somewhere between a science fiction horror and an individual’s journey to understanding what’s happening to them. It has a touch of fantasy as well, which I personally appreciated.
This is nothing quite like any of Kim Harrison’s other works, and that’s okay. I enjoyed it anyway – though if I’m being entirely truthful her name being on the novella is the main reason why I became curious about it to begin with.
Warnings: This novella delves deeply into the mind of a woman who has gone through a significant amount of trauma. She doesn’t always know what is real, and because of what has happened to her she does have some phobias and anxiety to deal with. The subject matter frequently hits close to home, especially with how Kim Harrison portrayed the human nature of it all.
Perfunctory Affection was nothing quite like anything I’ve read, and I mean that as a positive thing. It stands out on its own, this new tale blending different genres into something new. I really enjoyed it, even if it did make my skin crawl at times (in a good way, I promise).
Kim Harrison’s portrayal of Meg was so well done; it caused a litany of emotions to pour out of the pages. Megs is confused, she’s passionate, she’s talented, she’s lost, she’s struggling, she’s trying to get better. These are all different versions of Meg, while also very much being the same person.
Throughout the novel Meg’s grasp of reality is constantly put into question. It was eerie at times, and downright disturbing at other points. To make matters more disturbing, we’re never given any concrete proof about which reality is the accurate one. We never know for sure if all of the hallucinations are truly that…it was brilliantly done.
I’ll admit that I cringed at the idea of a medication that made permanent changes to the brain so quickly. It sounds so terrifying and risky. You’d think that with something that strong they’d want the patient to be under more supervision – but then again maybe you need to be in your normal surroundings for it to have the ideal effect. It’s still a disturbing thought though.
I loved all the questions that rose up over the course of this novella. I had so many theories as I read along, and I can honestly tell you that in truth none of them were proven or disproven in the end. I kind of like that. I love that while the story was very clearly wrapped up, there were still questions to be asked.