Last year just before Halloween I got to devour Broken Monsters which was nothing short of stunning. The way she treated Detroit like a haunted house, a ruin of a town like the ruin of bodies the serial killer left standing in for something greater and more grisly. If you haven’t read it yet you need to. From that preamble I assume you can tell I was excited to pick up The Shining Girls.
The Shining Girls is about a time traveling serial killer but it’s mostly about vulnerable women. The girls on the edge, who seemingly put themselves in harms way because most people don’t realize that to be female is to constantly be in harms way. All of the “victims” in Beukes book are women pushing social norms, whither that means being an abortionist or a social worker, a scientist or a showgirl. The sad thing is that as I was reading I didn’t notice that motif, I just saw the type of women killed everyday because women are killed everyday. Sometimes for something as small as ignoring a cat call. Beukes intentionally wanted call attention to issues of violence against women, partially because, like most people, she knew a victim of domestic violence.