A “genuinely scary” horror debut written in “prose so beautiful you won’t want to rush” about a boy who transforms into a monster, a monster who tries to be a man, and the people who love him in every form he takes (Ana Reyes)
Grieving mother Magos cuts out a piece of her deceased eleven-year-old son Santiago’s lung. Acting on fierce maternal instinct and the dubious logic of an old folktale, she nurtures the lung until it gains sentience, growing into the carnivorous little Monstrilio she keeps hidden within the walls of her family’s decaying Mexico City estate. Eventually, Monstrilio begins to resemble the Santiago he once was, but his innate impulses—though curbed by his biological and chosen family’s communal care—threaten to destroy this fragile second chance at life.
A thought-provoking meditation on grief, acceptance, and the monstrous sides of love and loyalty, Gerardo Sámano Córdova blends bold imagination and evocative prose with deep emotional rigor. Told in four acts that span the globe from Brooklyn to Berlin, Monstrilio offers, with uncanny clarity, a cathartic and precise portrait of being human.
“At once heartbreaking and unapologetically strange, this is a cross-cultural, syncretic, folksy, razor-sharp narrative about the horrors of grief and the eternal debate over nature versus nurture. . . . Monstrilio packs in a lot, and the author pulls it off brilliantly. It is at once dark and tender, at times bleak, but balanced with humor that borders on slapstick . . . an outstanding debut; for all the ground being broken in genre-bending horror, his is a distinctive, exciting new voice in fiction.”—Gabino Iglesias, Los Angeles Times
Gerardo Sámano Córdova is a writer and artist from Mexico City living in Brooklyn. He's currently Writer in Residence at Fordham University. He got his MFA from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. He has studied at Bread Loaf as a work/study scholar (2019) and fellow (2023) and at the Tin House Summer Workshop (2019). He's currently working on a second novel.
(Also been known to draw little creatures.)