FROM THE CAVES by Thea Prieto reviewed in Diagram 21.5!

Being an elder millennial (see: I refuse to use the term ‘geriatric’), I’ve come to accept that I no longer know any of the cool lingo that the kids these days use. That said, the first thing that comes to mind when reading Thea Prieto’s From the Caves is that it gives off “major A24 vibes.” This novella screams out to be made into a movie. It is filled with rich language and vibrant imagery in a way that lends itself to cinema: I could see grainy memories of the narrator swimming like a sequence from Moonlight; the terse sound design and lighting from The Lighthouse or It Comes at Night as the characters huddle inside the cave; and there’s even a scene reminiscent of the violent vibrance of Midsommar. Prieto paints scenes with visceral, creative phrasing that is at once innovative and yet still somehow familiar. There is an instinctual nature to how phrases are strung together, starting from the very beginning where “[a] palm slaps red to Sky’s face.” Her writing is without flourish but rather strips language down to an ancestral level that simply pairs words that we have forgotten belong together. It is some of the most palpable writing I have encountered in my elder millennial life.