I have something like 130 books to read on my Goodreads list. I remember where some of them came from… but not all. Usually when I finish a book I go to the list and see if there’s something on the list I fancy reading. I mean otherwise the list will never get shorter, right? This time I picked Teeth by Hannah Moskovitz. I have no idea where it came from. It might have been one of the suggestions for my old book club that we never ended up reading.
I honestly don’t know where to start with this one because even the description is probably going to sound a bit crazy, but here goes.
Seventeen year old Rudy’s family has moved to a remote island due to his brother’s serious illness. The island is known for its unique “enki” fish, which have healing properties and keep its inhabitants well and alive beyond their natural lifespans.
In the night Rudy hears screaming coming from the ocean that makes his isolation from the world he has left behind ever more acute. As he starts to unpick the island’s strange secrets he discovers the screams are coming from a creature named Teeth, who is half boy and half fish and who will change his life forever.
Trying to pin down the genre of this novel is tough. It’s potentially an adult fairy tale but there is also an argument for it being magical realism. Whatever it is, it’s a weird old kettle of fish (pun intended).
Rudy is a very well written character and Moskovitz does a great job of capturing his teenage angst and turmoil. I got the feeling that there were all manner of themes and metaphors at work but that I wasn’t smart or engaged enough to understand them. I definitely picked up on the idea that for every “miracle cure”, there is someone making a sacrifice and there’s a challenge in deciding whether that sacrifice is worth it. Possibly there was also something about the ethics of animal testing or even eating animals. At the same time its a coming of age story and sort of a love story… maybe?
As I read Teeth I was sucked in and compelled to keep going to find out where it was going but I was also completely baffled most of the time and somewhat weirded out by some of the happenings in the book. It doesn’t shy away from some brutal imagery. If you like your fiction fairly straight up then Teeth is not for you. If you feel like a trip to the strange side, it might be.