Monday, August 22, 2016

We Eat Our Own by Kea Wilson

An ambitious debut novel by an original young writer, We Eat Our Own blurs the lines between life and art with the story of a film director’s unthinkable experiment in the Amazon.

When a nameless, struggling actor in 1970s New York gets the call that an enigmatic director wants him for an art film set in the Amazon, he doesn’t hesitate: he flies to South America, no questions asked. He quickly realizes he’s made a mistake. He’s replacing another actor who quit after seeing the script—a script the director now claims doesn’t exist. The movie is over budget. The production team seems headed for a breakdown. The air is so wet that the celluloid film disintegrates.

But what the actor doesn’t realize is that the greatest threat might be the town itself, and the mysterious shadow economy that powers this remote jungle outpost. Entrepreneurial Americans, international drug traffickers, and M-19 guerillas are all fighting for South America’s future—yand the groups aren’t as distinct as you might think. The actor thought this would be a role that would change his life. Now he’s worried if he’ll survive it.

Inspired by a true story from the annals of 1970s Italian horror film, and told in dazzlingly precise prose, We Eat Our Own is a resounding literary debut, a thrilling journey behind the scenes of a shocking film and a thoughtful commentary on violence and its repercussions.
I wouldn't lie if I say I was really looking to get scared by this novel and my wish was granted. It came to be not only enlightening and beautifully written as many of the readers agree, but it was also a decent amount of creepy... just about a spoonful of scare and I was good to go. Hannibal Lecter meets The Lord of the Flies or Heart of Darkness: this definitely isn't a read for the faint hearted. A lot of people suggested the story follows closely the script of Cannibal Holocaust, which I haven't watched, but I guess you can trust them.
For a debut novel it raised the bar so high, I was dumbstruck for a couple of days after I finished it. It has a gritty and realistic setting, characters so flawed they could be any one of us, and prose so fresh it reads as if you're discovering a new language. If you have ever watched a Fellini or a Woody Allen, then you'll get what I mean. It is a book so alive and filled with taste that you are doomed to love every single word in it.
Mind my advice though, you should be in the right gory mood to read that and you should be ok with huge, disgusting snakes, otherwise you might be put off from the very beginning. I will not mark it as a girls read, but definitely a read for people who are interested in the murky, gory side of life.