restricted access Citizen Monsters: Race and Cannibalism in Suzette Mayr’s Venous Hum

Halfway through Suzette Mayr’s 2004 novel Venous Hum, a number of the central characters are revealed to be cannibalistic vampires, some of whom are reformed and loveable while others are violent and villainous. The novel is funny and satirical with connections to cult horror films and canonical Canadian literature. By reading Venous Hum in terms of magic realism and literary cannibalism, this essay focusses on the ways in which Mayr’s evocations of vampires and cannibals lead readers towards a politicized questioning of the relationship between perceived differences and official nation-state discourse. This essay thus examines the novel’s magic realist monster imagery in relation to racialization and the politics of interpellation, visibility, inclusion, and assimilation in multicultural Canada. Mayr makes ironic use of the colonial resonances of cannibalistic discourse in order to critique the relationship between the nation-state and its varied citizens, and between official multicultural policy and the lived experience of racialization.