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Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9780349015613

Price: £14.99

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‘Absolutely brilliant – tragic, funny, eccentric . . . Claire Kohda takes the vampire trope and makes it her own’ RUTH OZEKI


Lydia is hungry.

She’s always wanted to try sashimi, ramen, onigiri with sour plum stuffed inside – the food her Japanese father liked to eat. And then there is bubble tea and the vegetables grown by the other young artists at the London studio space she is secretly squatting in. But Lydia can’t eat any of this. The only thing she can digest is blood, and it turns out that sourcing fresh pigs’ blood in London – where she is living away from her vampire mother for the first time – is much more difficult than she’d anticipated.

Then there are the humans: the people at the gallery she interns at, the strange men who follow her after dark, and Ben, a goofy-grinned artist she is developing feelings for. Lydia knows that they are her natural prey, but she can’t bring herself to feed on them.

If Lydia is to find a way to exist in the world, she must reconcile the conflicts within her – between her demon and human sides, her mixed ethnic heritage, and her relationship with food, and, in turn, humans.

Before any of this, however, she must eat.

‘Witty and thought-provoking’ Stylist
‘Blistering’ Glamour
‘Unusual, original and strikingly contemporary’ Guardian
‘Deliciously fresh’ Waterstones
‘A wholly 21st century take on bloodsucking’ Observer
‘Fascinating’ BookRiot
‘Pumps fresh blood into the horror genre’ The Times

What's Inside

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A surefooted, art-filled and wholly 21st-century take on bloodsucking
Witty and thought-provoking
The most unusual, original and strikingly contemporary vampire novel to come along in years
What Stoker did for the vampire at the end of the nineteenth century, Claire Kohda does for it in our own era
Times Literary Supplement
Woman, Eating deals a lot with food, hunger, and Lydia's relationship to her body. But this novel also deals with spiritual nourishment, art, womanhood, shame, and identity . . . Kohda's prose will take you on a deep emotional journey. Trust me, this is not your average vampire story - it is a novel that displays the incredible breadth of what speculative fiction can show us about the human condition
A delicate, consistently surprising riff on the vampire narrative, and a stealthy, subversive story of one young woman's declaration of self
Library Journal (starred)
Kohda makes clever use of her premise to explore weighty topics-including cultural alienation, disordered eating, emotional abuse, sexual assault, the stressors of navigating adulthood, and caring for an aging parent-with sensitivity. Lydia's achingly vulnerable first-person narration gains momentum as she achieves self-acceptance-and, ultimately, self-empowerment. Subversive and gratifying
Woman, Eating is a long-overdue recalibration of the genre: a brilliant, subversive inquiry into the very politics of desire and denial, and a twisted testament to the depths of female appetite
The Skinny
A playful debut that pumps fresh blood into the horror genre... [It] playfully revitalises a tired tradition, riffing on its clichés while delivering a gripping contemporary fable about embracing difference and satisfying hunger
The Times
Woman, Eating puts a deliciously fresh spin on a vampire narrative, while mining serious themes of race, misogyny and body image with pitch-perfect subtlety
A modern day vampire thriller that also covers race, social isolation, unrequited love and parental loyalty ... Lydia battles not only her vampire hunger but also to find her place in the world
Meaningful and illuminating.... The vampire novel has been done many ways, but Woman, Eating, Claire Kohda's intelligent and irreverent take, makes for an enjoyable read
Sunday Times
Lydia sees herself not as a coherent being but as a body where human and demon uneasily cohabit. Bloodthirst aside, this is a pretty effective encapsulation of what it means to be a person with free will. Unless we behave so atrociously as to destroy any chance of redemption, each of us is the site of a war between good and evil that will rage on for as long as we live - and that might remain unresolved by any legacy we leave. I mean, how bloody relatable is that?
Absolutely brilliant - tragic, funny, eccentric and so perfectly suited to this particularly weird time. Claire Kohda takes the vampire trope and makes it her own in a way that feels fresh and original. Serious issues of race, disability, misogyny, body image, sexual abuse are handled with subtlety, insight, and a lightness of touch. The spell this novel casts is so complete I feel utterly, and happily, bitten
Ruth Ozeki (2021)
The way food wends its way throughout this piece is such a fascinating way to explore hunger, various appetites, and even identity. I regret to inform you that this one's not out until the spring, but I believe it's well worth the preorder
Book Riot
A vampire book that will scrub any trace of Twilight from your mind - Claire Kohda's debut follows a young vampire dealing with all kinds of hunger: for acceptance, for artistic success, and for sushi
Glamour US, Best Books for 2022
Kohda has created a provocative, sympathetic and satisfying dive into the mind of an unusual young woman at a crossroads
The chief trait that Lydia, the protagonist of this artful vampire novel, shares with monsters of old is hunger . . . As Lydia encounters new people, including a pleasant artist turned property manager, and a new boss, a man with more influence than decency, she comes to understand what it is to become something 'that is neither demon nor human'
New Yorker
In this enjoyable debut novel, Kohda presents Lydia's thirst for blood as a tidy metaphor for more common cravings. The protagonist's discomfort with her condition comes across as quite realistic in what is essentially a coming-of-age novel. The author is particularly deft at illustrating how unacknowledged desire will out, undermining our best intentions
Arts Fuse
Unsettling, sensual, subversive, Woman, Eating turns the vampire trope on its head with its startlingly original female protagonist, caught between two worlds. It is a profound meditation on alienation and appetite, and what it means to be a young woman who experiences life at an acute level of intensity and awareness. Claire Kohda's prose is biting, yet lush and gorgeous. I was uncomfortably smitten
Lisa Harding, author of BRIGHT BURNING THINGS (2022)
One of the most original vampire novels in ages, Claire Kohda's Woman, Eating follows Lydia, a British, Japanese and Malaysian vampire struggling to survive . . . Kohda has given Lydia a host of great vampire qualities, such as excellent night vision and an ability to experience the entire life of a creature by drinking its blood. But it's Kohda's exploration of Lydia's inner world, the pain and longing she feels as an outsider, that makes Woman, Eating such a delicious novel
New York Times Book Review
Blistering ... Tells us a lot about the ways we're all searching for belonging
Glamour UK
A delicious debut
Publishers Weekly
We've seen sexy vampires, scary vampires and psychic vampires, but never one quite like the one in this ambitious debut. Lydia is a 23-year-old, mixed-race artist whose appetite can only be sated with a tall serving of blood. With wit and a poet's eye, Kohda examines cravings, desire and emptiness
New York Times