Consumption is one of the most horrifically intriguing novellas that I’ve read for quite some time and it may just make you think twice about that special dinner invitation.
Each of the six guests received their invitations through the post, a twelve course tasting meal courtesy of the renowned chef Heinrich Schauer. Through the winding roads of the Gotthard Pass, over the Devil’s Bridge to reach a remote lakeside Swiss manor in the Leventina Valley.
In keeping with the evening’s dinner theme, each guest had been issued a unique demon’s masquerade mask. They were discouraged from talking about themselves, the evening was purely about the wonders cooked up by the chef.
We spend time with Heinrich Schauer as he prepares his dishes, stripping meat from the body strapped to the kitchen table and we see the effect the dishes have on the guests. An almost hidden undercurrent of rage that the food helped to fuel, feeding their inner demons.
‘The monster was feverishly hot, no doubt a side effect of Schauer’s grueling excavations. He was sure that the beast would be howling if Schauer had not had the foresight to sever its vocal cords. No shared language existed between them, of course, save for the excruciating roars of pain and misery that were common to all.’
Consumption is a quite different tale of horror that resonates feelings of dread and shock, very well written, some great ideas and some darkness around the invention of various culinary delights. This was my first read from Michael Patrick Hicks and definitely won’t be my last.
Words by Paul Nelson, @pgnelson72