Tuesday, November 30, 2021

The Pleasures of Men by Kate Williams


This was like being lost in a feverish nightmare: a bleak swirl of the dark underside of Victorian England, and how predators can easily hunt girls in the night. I remember reading THE PLEASURES OF MEN years ago and loving it, and also being shocked by the low rating. I didn't like it quite as much this go-round but I'm still kind of shocked at how low the average rating for this book is. It feels undeserved considering how lush the writing is, how tortured the character is, and how elaborate the Gothic scenery is.

Catherine is a girl haunted by tragedy. She lives with her morbid uncle and is fascinated with the Jack the Ripper-esque killer stalking the streets, who goes by the name "the man of crows." Catherine keeps a journal, imagining what their deaths must have been like, although the POV swaps kind of give this book a magic realism bent. Are we really reading the POVs of the murdered girls, or just how Catherine herself imagines what their last moments must have been like?

THE PLEASURES OF MEN is another book that basically has all the triggers. I feel like there's a lot of uncertainty-- and also a lot of typos, considering this is a traditionally published work-- but I did like the twist, and I felt like Catherine herself was pretty relatable. Who doesn't love a morbidly depressed Wednesday Addams type character? Also, that COVER is so Instagrammable, I can't. Why don't more people like this book? I don't know.

Anyone who loves Gothic vibez and spooky Victorian thrillers will probably love this book.

3 to 3.5 out of 5 stars

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