A Cruel Man Delighting in Flowers

...the mildness to which men ... had yielded was only half of the intoxication of beauty, while the other half ... was of such surpassing and terrible cruelty—the most cruel of men delights himself with a flower—that beauty ... failed quickly of its effect... 

Hermann BrochThe Death of Virgil

 

Jeremy Davies is made of ink, but don’t dip a feather in him. It tickles. He once painted a fingernail black and no one really noticed. He was disappointed. He’s also an editor, a religious atheist, a liker of strong coffees, a Shakespeare-lover, a political anarchist and someone who rarely has a pen when he needs one. He has been a PhD candidate, a personal trainer, a life model, a bouncer, an infantry soldier and someone who rarely had a pen when he needed one. He has had words published in a variety of places, in a variety of publications, in a variety of forms, in a variety of moments: Canada, Wet Ink, SMS and twelve minutes past three in the afternoon being some of these. His first novel, 'Missing Presumed Undead', will be re-published by Satalyte Publishing in February 2014. A second is on its way.

American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis The key to developing a functional relationship [I wrote 'understanding' originally, but I think that word is too cut-and-dried, particularly for a book like this] with this book lies - obviously enough I would think - in the epigraphs. Maybe even give [b:Notes from Underground|17876|Notes from Underground|Fyodor Dostoyevsky|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327865826s/17876.jpg|19376] a look in its entirity, if it might help? Do not look for the bland realism of an episode of CSI - it's not there. It might appear to be there, considering the nature of some of the detail on the page, but:

'C'mon people: it's just a little book.'

The movie version, for example, makes the reductive error of turning the story into a far-too-Realist text, which really 'murders' the novel rather violently... My argument is for what I would call Insidious Magic Realism here, taking the idea of unreliable narration and twisting it back on itself to the point of snapping it down the middle of its spine. The more you go along, the more bizarre and completely without credibility the acts become, which point toward this.

Ellis is the kind of writer who plays with the reader, and in this novel, the play turns pretty wild and savage. There is certainly a psychosis being exhibited here, but it's not necessarily the one overtly before you. Bateman is a hero, but not because of his actions, but because of his effort to defeat the social 'endpoint' that he represents. He is the victim, and there is no exit: yet he continues to pathetically fight while you, the reader, use your nailgun on him

Currently reading

Lyrical and Critical Essays
Albert Camus
The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages
Harold Bloom
The Rebel (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)
Albert Camus