In the Palm – Elna Holst

“I am drunk and about to chop my hand off.” How is that for an opening sentence? The drunk and soon-to-be one-handed person is a woman but that’s about all either the reader or herself knows at first. She’s on a desert island but she has no idea how she got there nor, for that matter, who she is. After some time – time is a very abstract concept when you’re all alone on a desert island –, she’ll realise the island is not as deserted as she thought.

In the Palm is the most bizarre book I’ve read in a long time, maybe ever. It’s also funny and unexpectedly hot. The word that kept repeating in my mind as I was reading is “brilliant”. Everything in this novella is bloody brilliant. And kind of disturbing.

I felt as lost and disoriented as the main character for almost the whole time. Ms No Name (she’s pretty sure she’s a doctor) is smart and scared and talks to herself in a delightfully self-deprecating manner. The situation she finds herself in is terrifying yet I laughed a lot. And I have no idea how the author managed to convey so much sexiness despite all the squeamish-y stuff.

I mean, seriously, here you are, with two stranded characters who don’t really speak the same language, one of whom has probably not spoken at all in a terribly long time, the other has been forced to cut off her own hand in dreadful conditions, there’s sand and rain and mud and yet – yet! – there’s chemistry. A whole lot. Inadvertent chemistry at first then very purposeful and damn is it hot on this island!

I’m still stunned. This novella is probably not for everyone but it’s fabulous.


In the Palm @ NineStar Press

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