Unquiet Spirits: Essays by Asian Women in Horror by Lee Murray

Stars: 5 out of 5 (Extra extra star for the gorgeous cover)

I don’t often read non-fiction unless I need it for work, so I was a bit skeptical when I picked up this book. But that cover drew me in like a magnet, so I decided to give it a try. And I must admit that I didn’t regret my choice.

This is a collection of essays by Asian women about their experiences having to reconcile two often different cultures or trying to integrate into a culture that is different then the one they were born into. It’s also about the role of women in Asian culture and how powerless they often are. And each essay also talks about some monsters traditional to various Asian cultures and how those monsters are often females.

Yes, summarized like that this book doesn’t sound particularly interesting, but trust me, it is. Maybe because being an immigrant myself, I can relate to the struggle of reconciling different cultures within oneself. I had to move and integrate into a different society several times in my life, and each time I had to decide which parts of myself I wanted to leave behind and what was the “core” of my being that I wouldn’t compromise on, no matter how strange and “foreign” that made me in my new country. 

And while my culture doesn’t have such a radical and repressive stance against women, I still can relate to their struggles. My mother also sacrificed her career to follow my father into a foreign country and dedicated her life to raising a family. She also never bothered to learn the language. She surrounded herself with friends that spoke the same language instead. So you might say that she never fully integrated, even after living there for 20 years.

So a lot of these stories resonated with me, and as a bonus, I got to learn about folklore of other countries, which I am always fascinated with.

PS: I received a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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