Book Review: Punishment by Hope by Erik Hofstatter

More thoughts of her rushed in. How her face escaped from teasing words into the small dark world of her child-like palms. How her breathing changed when he quietly touched her.
  • Rating: 4
  • Published in: January 2021
  • Read in: April 2021

Book Review: Punishment by Hope by Erik Hofstatter

A master swimmer, Nim’s life revolves around swimming and carrying, that is his punishment. His heart lies with Esiteri who is held hostage on board the ship to which he swims to collect mysterious boxes, but he cannot get near Esiteri without hurting her.

Surreal fiction isn’t a genre I’m very familiar with, so I had no idea what to expect going into this book, but I really enjoyed it!

In the beginning, I admittedly had no idea what was going on, but then I realised I wasn’t really supposed to as the story went on and that there was a mystery at the centre. Amongst trying to wrap my brain around what was happing was this stunning imagery and this really kept me turning the pages. Erik Hofstatter writes in such a way that the characters really came to life in all their weird, aquatic creepiness, and the setting is vividly painted in your mind. The ocean has always been something that unsettles me and calms me simultaneously and I felt that these two sides were perfectly captured.

I love Erik Hofstatter’s style of writing. At times I wasn’t sure if it was prose or poetry and I often found myself thinking how some of the sexual imagery could be so extreme and beautiful at the same time. Some of the language was very erotic, and I’m not talking just the kind of eroticism that gets your heat beating, some of it was very risqué and made me pause for a second, and I consider myself quite strong-stomached, but it was written so beautifully that I just kept on reading. Towards the end of the story I realised how these more risqué descriptions actually fit perfectly into it.

This story felt both like a dream and a nightmare. It was fantastical, erotic, disorientating, horrifying and beautiful all in one and I recommend it to anyone who wants to get lost in a surreal, bizarre, aquatic dream-like world for a while!

Buy the book on Amazon.