‘Mantis’ by Julia Armfield

aving a teenage body is a strange thing. There’s something peculiar in the sudden awareness of yourself, of how you move, how you look, feel, smell, which is never replicated. There’s something especially peculiar when your body, in particular, is transforming in different ways to the other teenagers around you. ‘Mantis’ perfectly captures this feeling, and then amps it up, by having something truly unusual happen. Julia Armfield’s bodies – throughout this entire collection – flip the idea of how we see monstrosity and what is monstrous, with such talent that I was squirming and cheering in equal measure. 

First published in Neon 48, Spring 2018. Collected in Salt Slow, Picador, 2019

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