So yeah, this book. How do you describe this book? Funny, insightful, entertaining, and brutal. Yeah, pretty, pretty brutal.
Many other reviews mention how this book may not be for everyone and I’ll strongly agree with that. The violence and the sex are what you could describe as sordid and grotesque. But this is so much more than depraved sex acts, butcherings, and Sandra Bullock.
Alan Chambers enrols in an English class, headed by the strange and sadistic Professor Krang, where a group of students plan to ultimately destroy themselves in the name of their art. Before he knows where he’s at, Alan is in far too deep with this sociopaths and an escape seems unlikely.
The group is like an intelligent Manson Family, or a psychopathic and blood-hungry version of the ensemble in JG Ballard’s Crash.
“Art. It’s infinity. It’s everything we cannot be and could be and were. It is real and it is not real. It exists and it doesn’t exist.”
This statement sums up this book well. The extreme acts of violence and rape seem so unreal and yet are described in such a realistic way that you squirm while reading. And the constant references to classic literature and pop culture are a nice addition.
There is a plot, although it’s rather limited, but that doesn’t matter. Even though there are no twists and turns around every corner, I was engrossed in the writing, chuckling and squirming in equal measure. The prose is strange, at times akin to something like House of Leaves, and although there were moments I wondered what was going on, I just went with it. It’s the only way to do it, and it pays off!
And the book also addresses something that I’d always wondered about. In many novels, when the taste of blood is described it is said to taste like copper. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted copper, and this point is made perfectly. “Who licks pennies?” If you read it you’ll know what I mean.
A thoroughly enjoyable read, although this may say more about me than the author!
Categories: book review