A review by patroclusbro
Bestiary by K-Ming Chang

challenging dark emotional inspiring mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


I don't think that it is difficult to come across books with a great plot or intriguing characters. But it is rare to to find one that truly portrays a unique perception of the world. This is one of them.

Bestiary takes all the slimy, odd puzzle pieces of broken family and diaspora, of abuse and intergenerational trauma and puts them into the hands of a little girl who has grown a tail.

The magical realism of this book crawls out from behind every letter, turning the shy and simple plot into a many-headed being. The imagery is ugly, it is frightening, faecal, and filled to the rim with alluring beauty. I love a writing that is not afraid of the body and animalistic desire!

How terrifying is love, is family, is ancestry? How close are care and murder? And is there anything in this world which doesn't have a life on its own?