Guest recommendation with Mike from Books on GIF
The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish — Katya Apekina
Welcome to another guest recommendation on Reading Under the Radar! On the last Tuesday of each month, I’ll be asking a fellow book friend about one of their favorite under-the-radar reads.
This week, welcome Mike from Books on GIF! Check out Books on GIF for “the alternative to boring book reviews,” featuring weekly book reviews with—you guessed it—gifs! I was so excited when Mike reviewed The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, one of my favorite books I read the year it came out.
The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish by Katya Apekina
What It’s About
The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish by Katya Apekina is a novel that belongs in some kind of book title hall of fame and is best read in “a bathtub of your own tears,” according to the publisher’s notes. The story follows two teenage sisters, Mae and Edith, who are sent from Louisiana to live with their estranged father, a famous author, in New York City in 1997 after their mother is institutionalized following a suicide attempt.
Mae is happy with the reunion and to be free of their mother, whom she found oppressive due to her mother's odd behavior, like following around strangers. Edith, however, wants to return to Louisiana. An older boy from the apartment downstairs agrees to drive her back. Mae, meanwhile, becomes her father's muse in outrageous ways.
I love how the novel is structured. Edith narrates her section as it’s happening, while Mae looks back years later. Woven in are accounts from other characters, therapy notes, book review excerpts, and letters. No one is a truly trustworthy narrator; they misunderstand and get things wrong. But the reader can corroborate the story from the characters’ accounts and other material. Reading this book feels like doing exciting journalism.
Who will like it
The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish is for readers who love intense, dark, and somewhat disturbing stories that also are strangely beautiful and full of energy. It’s also for those who enjoy when authors play with narrative structures. I loved every page of it. Readers who are up for a provocative and challenging story in a fresh and original style should read this book.
Thank you, Mike, for recommending on Reading Under the Radar! As it happens, I’ve also read this book and remember enjoying it quite a bit! It was years ago, so I don’t remember specifics, but I did rate it 4 stars, and it turned me on to Two Dollar Radio, the small press that published it. They also published My Volcano, which Mike just reviewed this week!
This week is the last week to get your entries in for the end-of-summer giveaway! Remember: every comment on an August post counts!
Through the month of August, each time you comment on a post, you get an entry into the massive end-of-summer giveaway! I currently have 17 brand-new ARCs and finished copies of 2022 releases, and adding more every week! These will likely be split up into two boxes for two winners, and I’m leaving it a mystery so you will be surprised! They include all genres, from fiction to nonfiction to mystery, thriller, romance, literary fiction, and more.
Must be US resident or have US mailing address
Must be 13+ years
Comment on any August recommendation or post to earn an entry. The monthly August what’s on my stack is included, and head here for the archives!
You can earn multiple entries by leaving comments on as many August recommendations as you want!
Entries accepted through August 31.
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Can’t get enough, or looking for a different recommendation? Browse the archives, or check out some popular past recommendations:
Read a rom-com about a Vegas wedding chapel and a family rivalry
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Loved this guest post, Cassie and Mike (unsurprisingly).
And...best read in “a bathtub of your own tears” is a hell of an endorsement 😂
How fun to include a book review in a book... also a Louisiana girl who currently lives in NYC but is always threatening to return home, I identify.