Saturday 22 July 2023

Book Review: Nails and Eyes by Fujino Kaori (Horror Short Stories)

Title: Nails and Eyes
Author: Fujino Kaori
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Publication Date: 5 September 2023
Pages: 112
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Horror Short Stories
Source: ARC via NetGalley

Paired with two stories of creeping tension and unsettled minds, the unnerving title novella Nails and Eyes introduces a unique new voice in Japanese literature.

With masterful narrative control, Nails and Eyes—appearing in English for the first time—builds to a conclusion of uncanny power.

A young girl addresses her stepmother, who has moved in shortly after her mother’s death in unusual circumstances. The girl shows strangely detailed knowledge of the older woman’s life, and as her stepmother settles into the house, the girl’s obsession sharpens to an ever finer point.


I am not a big horror reader, but I enjoy contemporary Japanese fiction, so I decided to give this short story collection a try. Of the three tales, the title piece definitely felt the strongest to me; however, that may simply be because the longer word count gave the author more time to introduce the characters and really set the atmosphere. I'd say these are disturbing, psychological stories rather than gory, outright horror. They were interesting narratives, especially "Nails and Eyes", and I found them fun to read, but they didn't captivate me beyond that. Nonetheless, I would be keen to read a longer-form piece by this author in the future. I am giving Nails and Eyes four stars. It's worth a look if you enjoy modern Japanese literature and uncanny tales.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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