I WILL ROT WITHOUT YOU by Danger Slater (Fungasm)
The dedication at the beginning of I WILL ROT WITHOUT YOU is the obvious heart and genesis of the novella, succinctly it reads,
“To: All the girls who helped me start this story,
And, The one girl who helped me finish it.”
This dedication is the best way to describe the journey that awaits the curious; it leaves out all the blood, mold, bugs, goop, and melting, but it strikes at exactly why this book is so effective. Writing about love is always a precarious thing, it so easily becomes a song among thousands, full of cliché and worn out tropes, the same is even truer when writing about breakups. How many poorly written, emotionally void books are there that seek to address this most human of experiences? How many of them feel like the same old, tired bullshit you’ve heard/read/seen regurgitated again and again? This book, thank the dark gods below, is not one of those stories.
It’s a pretty simple tale: girl leaves boy, boy doesn’t even understand how to function without girl, roaches and mold smash into boys life, boy meets new girl, new girl is tragically involved with an abusive asshole who sews parts of himself to her, etcetera, etcetera, and so on, until the awesome final chapter. It’s a story we all know and love. And fuck if I didn’t love it. Slater has such a way with language that while describing the protagonist literally falling to pieces, I visualized each loss, each drip, and each crumble. There is a scene with a neighbor and his mummified wife that I could fucking see, as I read. At one particularly bug-heavy scene, I swear a cockroach ran across my couch. This book grips you and doesn’t let go, it shakes you until you feel like parts of you could so easily fall off and be forgotten.
There’s a pretty profound scene towards the end where the nature of relationships is deconstructed with a fierce eloquence and rich understanding of how broken we all are, and how we seek another to repair that damage. At its core, I WILL ROT WITHOUT YOU is an authentically human book about loss, identity, and the cost of moving on. It is also wonderfully gross. I regret that I hadn’t sooner dove into the works of Danger Slater – a regret I will be rectifying sooner than later. (Sam Richard)