Review: The Past Is Red by Catherynne M. Valente

Author: Catherynne M. Valente
Publisher: Tor.com
Released: July 20th, 2021
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Abuse, assault, starvation

4 kitties

The Past Is Red is the latest novella to come from the mind of Catherynne M. Valente, and boy is it going to hit you straight in the feels. This novella is one part of science fiction and one part post-apocalyptic, and it carries heavy notes.

Many post-apocalyptic tales have been set in a world where there’s nothing but oceans. Yet this one feels different than the rest. Tetley Abednego is a girl of many things. She is loved. She is hated. She is free. She is tortured.

She knows a secret that would devastate the rest of her town, Garbagetown. The people would hate her more than they do now. But she knows the treasure of this secret, and that makes her special.

“Then we’d go to sleep and dream the same dreams. We always dreamed the same dreams, which was like living twice.”

Ow. My heart. It felt so heavy after reading The Past Is Red. This novella really wormed its way into my heart and soul, and it left some damage behind. I don’t want to sound like I’m discouraging you from reading it – the opposite is true.

It just so happens that Catherynne M. Valente’s writing is so powerful that you can’t escape the import of her words. They’re beautiful and heavy at the same time. In fact, her words are very much a contradiction, much like her leading character.

This is a novella that must be read and experienced. Reading a review will never do it justice; that much I can promise you.

Thanks to Tor.com and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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