Monstrous Femme

Green Fuse Burning Review

Green Fuse Burning Review

“Life was like a language I couldn’t speak.”
Green Fuse Burning is an Indigenous swampcore/fungal/eco horror novella that chronicles the life of urban Mi’kmaw landscape artist Rita Francis, whose paintings are recovered and exhibited after her disappearance. Estranged from her family and devastated over her father’s death, Rita is consumed by loss and regret, alienated from her culture and native tongue, while weighed down by a toxic relationship with her girlfriend Molly. After Molly secretly submits a grant application in Rita’s name that earns her an artist’s residency at a remote cabin located on her ancestors’ former land, Rita accepts despite her anger at Molly’s deception, hoping to reconnect with her heritage and revitalize her craft.

Following her arrival, things immediately go south when Rita hears strange nocturnal noises and has unsettling interactions with less-than-friendly locals. Disheartened, she attempts to find comfort in the outdoors, which fuels her artistry and produces bizarre, frightening visions that test her sanity. Unfolding via alternating chapters composed of detailed artwork descriptions, present-day experiences, and formative flashbacks, the storyline powerfully frames Rita’s difficulties with grief, displacement, estrangement, mental health, and identity. Will darkness ultimately consume her, or will she persevere and forge a new beginning?

A work of art in itself, Green Fuse Burning offers a gorgeous and commanding reading experience achieved through lush and transcendent prose. The intoxicating narrative reads like a heady fever dream, both captivating and crippling. Nature is at once prolific and fragile, terrifying and comforting, grotesque and beautiful, while earth’s pestilential, ever-worsening climate crisis casts a pall and instills paralyzing anxiety and dread. Oppressed by this intense existential crisis, the reader feels stifled, as though gasping for air alongside the overheating planet. It is a horrifying and ruinous reality infused with vibrant, sumptuous, exquisite moments.

At its core, this debut is a transformative, cathartic, page-turning and bittersweet tale of history, erasure, and humanity; trauma, cruelty, and sorrow; dispossession, connection, and kinship; inspiration, rhythm, and fulfillment; and acceptance, purpose, and peace. It is a quietly violent, startlingly disturbing, hauntingly epic account of one woman’s spiritual journey and a breathtaking, universal exploration of meaning and mortality—the omnipresent ghost that haunts us all.

Thank you to Stelliform Press and BookSirens for providing an e-ARC of this forthcoming release, which hits shelves on October 31st.