photographed by Magdalena Franczuk
Author: Bret Easton Ellis
Date: First published 1991
American Psycho is the story of the yuppie businesman and serial killer Patrick Bateman as he lives his life in the materialistic farce of Manhattan.
There are few books that can inspire a strange mixture of humor, poignancy and horror and deliver it effectively enough that one feels they have been changed just a little through reading it. The books that achieve the feat can be quite rightly dubbed as real modern classics, standing above the more cardboard definition of ‘classic’ so flippantly slapped upon anything popular.
American Psycho fits awkwardly into the classic pedigree. The book is, frequently, sickeningly brutal with its unflinching descriptions of intensely pornographic and horrifyingly violent scenes. As a result the outcry that this extremly-R-rated content created, on occasion, somewhat eclipsed the core message of the book . I have found in other reviews that the book is usefully described as ‘transgressive art’. That is, that the depravity and violence are vital in order to create the right level of juxtaposition to the priviledged and vapid life of Paul Batemen and to allow this life to descend into farce. The black humor of this juxtaposition is the genius of the book, and something that I really enjoyed because I saw (albeit much much milder) echoes of this relationship in my favourite book ‘Dorian Gray’ by Oscar Wilde.
In parts I was laughing aloud or felt moved by the insights about the cancerous yuppie culture that still hold strong in our modern consumer culture. Bateman’s own existential crisis both magnifies the farce but also creates a tragedy that inspires the reader’s empathy (though not sympathy) with the warped protagonist. While in other parts I felt physically sick, to have been any less brutal in the descriptions of the senseless tortures and murders would have led to failure because the message would be dampened or lost.
In conclusion, American Psycho is a cruel book but one that is brilliantly executed and well worth a read.
Now, if you excuse me, I have to return some videotapes.
this woman is my queen
Super short bonus review:
Watchmen is worth all the hype.
The graphic novel form executed perfectly. Check it out.
ѕтαяяуsky★ on We Heart It - http://weheartit.com/entry/46182334/via/Iron_and_Wine
The little book of hours of Amiens Nicolas Blairie,
Author: Judith Flanders
First of all, the look: the hardback is absolutely gorgeous with it’s front cover of a victorian-style etching of a busy street festooned with a half dust-sleeve with guilt writing. I’m a paperback girl myself, but this is a very worthy exception.
But, more importantly, this is a detailed and varied social history of Victorian London. It recognises the industrial revolution and slums without being obsessed by them, and takes you into the reality of Victorian street culture and the routine within the life of the city with such skill that you feel like you might taste the air itself as you read. Well researched, approachable, contemplative without being pedantic, grounded and fascinating. A fantastic example of how to handle social history in a measured way that both educates and entertains.
I can’t recommend it enough.