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  • Writer's pictureDeviant Quill

When Women Kill - Alia Trabucco Zerán, Sophie Hughes

A genre-bending feminist account of four Chilean women who committed the double transgression of murder, violating not only criminal law but also the invisible laws of gender.

Women Who Kill: Four Crimes Retold analyzes four homicides carried out by Chilean women over the course of the twentieth century. Drawing on her training as a lawyer, Alia Trabucco Zerán offers a nuanced close reading of their lives and crimes, foregoing sensationalism in order to dissect how all four were both perpetrators of violent acts and victims of another more insidious kind of violence. This radical retelling challenges the archetype of the woman murderer and reveals another narrative, one as disturbing and provocative as the transgressions themselves: What makes women lash out against the restraints of gendered domesticity, and how do we—readers, viewers, the media, the art world, the political establishment—treat them when they do?

Expertly intertwining true crime narrative, critical essay, and research diary, International Booker Prize finalist Alia Trabucco Zerán (The Remainder) brings a provocative feminist perspective to the study of female transgression.

My Review: As a fan of true crime, this book was one of the few that talks about everything a crime non-fiction should talk about. The author analyzes four women from various backgrounds from a legal and a psychological point of view. Every story starts with the murder, the suspects, the accusations, the trial, and continues with a deeper analysis of the women accused. We get to look at their background, triggers, and motives from a feminist point of view. The stories are accompanied by newspaper clippings, entries from the author's research diary, photos of the women, and sometimes explicit and quite gruesome photos of the deceased victims, body parts, and crime scenes. Don't get me wrong, I think they're a wonderful addition to the "true crime" effect, but those who are squeamish might want to keep that in mind.

Overall, this book is an excellent addition to any translation and true-crime shelf. Highly recommended!

Publisher: ‎ Coffee House Press (April 5, 2022)

Language‏: ‎ English

Paperback: ‎ 240 pages

ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1566896337

Review copy provided by Consortium Book Sales & Distribution @ Edelweiss+

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