Another Review at MyShelf.Com


by Mayra Calvani


Daniella is not having fun. Her ex-husband married Count Dracula's wife (What Daniella calls her) and wants to be buddies; her mother needs Daniella in The Praying Mantises, a women's movement created in response to attacks on mini-skirted women by a rump-slashing desperado dressed as Zorro; her confused best friend is dating a priest and running a socialist, no-it's communist, no-it's socialist, underground movement at the University; Tony, Daniella's drug-addict, live-in, artist, boyfriend hates her cat and the Turkish Angora feline is very fat. On top of it all, sparkling San Juan's young women are disappearing, the police are on strike and, by the way, there is a vampire in the jungle.

Sunstruck satirizes the women's rights movement as it rests today, using the vampire archetype.  While sending 19th century ladies into the vapors, the picture of the soulless Nosferatu materializing in the helpless lady's chamber is near-laughable now. We know the people who suck the life out of others by new names: Co-dependent, Rapist, Abuser, Sadist, Sociopath, Drug Lord, and we are less frightened than our ancestresses because we think we understand. Having to worry less about basic survival, we focus on the things that make us comfortable like who or what we love, junk food, overspending at Christmas and what we wear, but what has been the real change?  Whose padded and perfumed yoke do we wear and what will it take to move us to cast it off?

Funny is not a word I would use to describe Sunstruck. Absurd— yes. Frantic— yes. Insightful, Mandatory and Brilliant— yes, yes and yes. A must-read for any woman who thinks the Work is done or can be done by others. By the end I hadn't laughed, but the joke grenade caught me about 2 hours later; a cynical "Heh heh heh heh" with a grimace in the shrapnel. First, the sweetest person in the story is the serial killer; second, the last thing anybody is worried about is the real-"live" blood-sucker lurking in the jungle; and third, when viewed through today's glasses the vampire myth does not represent a nameless threat; it is the hope of a yet-unrealized salvation.

The Book

Zumaya Publications LLC
March 2009
Fiction - Women's Issues, Satire
More at
Excerpt and links for eBook edition
NOTE: Holiday read: Winter Holiday Season (Nov-Jan)

The Reviewer

Beth E. McKenzie
Reviewed 2009
© 2009