A Novel

Book - 2014
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In the book-filled, artfully messy Paris apartment of the famous French intellectuals Celestine and Aristide Arosteguy, an astonishing discovery is made - the grisly, butchered remains of Celestine, partially eaten. Her husband, sought by police for questioning, is nowhere to be found. Naomi Seberg, a young journalist, embarks upon a quest to uncover the truth of Celestine's death and Aristide's role in it. Meanwhile, her boyfriend contracts an STD and travels to Toronto to track down the disease's discoverer.
Publisher: Toronto : Hamish Hamilton, c2014
ISBN: 9780670069002
Branch Call Number: F CRO NVD
Characteristics: 284 p. ; 24 cm


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Feb 28, 2017

I've seen some of Cronenberg's films, and was intrigued by the synopsis on the dustjacket so I picked this up on a whim. I have to say I was getting into the book, despite the needless explanations of electronic equipment, for the characters and premise, but around 75% of the way through, it really fizzled out. Around when the narrator voice changed, I felt like the book got bogged down and began to rely too heavily on the mentioned equipment descriptions and use of "fancy" adjectives that, as we are to assume are coming from the voice of the characters, were entirely unconvincing; at times I actually chuckled at the premise that we are to believe that the characters are using these words and talking like this. It turned into an exercise of "look what I (the author) know about cameras and how big my vocabulary is" instead of wrapping up the plot and fleshing out the interesting themes presented in the first half of the book. As I often do, I keep a notepad of interesting things referenced in a book to research further later, and again the first half-75% of the book gave me a lot of intriguing concepts,places,things and ideas to ruminate on, but as for a satisfactory reading experience overall, I was left wanting a lot more.

May 20, 2016

I'm a big fan of the films of David Cronenberg, which includes such sicko classics as "The Fly," "Videodrome," and "Naked Lunch." As you might expect from his debut novel, there are similar obsessions here: the body, the nasty things that happen to the body, violence, transgressive behavior, technology, sex. If you found this sick then you're clearly not familiar with his films. He's made films of books by J.G. Ballard and William S. Burroughs and their influence is felt here, as is the more recent work of William Gibson. But there's something flat about the book, despite all the sickness, and while it connects to his major themes, it doesn't really explore them. Still, it's interesting for the reader already familiar with his films. I really have no sympathy with those who found it slow or disgusting. Perhaps you'd enjoy the latest Nicholas Sparks?

Jan 03, 2016

After reading 1/4 of the book, indeed, as it is written in previous comments, I wanted to throw to keep reading - all these details about the photos and equipment - it's like a course for the novice photographer - very annoying and not understandable: why all of this is in the book. Maybe the author was "consumed" by photography? Overall - abstruse, obscure, philosophical speculations, mixed with scenes of cannibalism and similar mental disorders. It is very hard to read - because of the language of the narrative. And, as it turns out, behind all this nonsense sits usual political intrigue. The ending - there is not an ending at all.

Apr 06, 2015

I got fed up with the author's sick fascination with VD, photography and audio equipment, cannibalism and weird sex. I couldn't bring myself to read any more than half the book.

Mar 29, 2015

Yeah. I tried to like this book. And I thought based on the dust jacket I would. But no. I couldn't do it. The book just wasn't my cup of tea. Too 'out there' if you will. My full review is here:

KateHillier Oct 24, 2014

I don't even know where to start with this. For the first fifty or so pages I getting a little annoyed with the constant description and competition between the two main characters about what brand and type of camera they were using and was really annoyed every time they had to broadcast precisely which photo editing software or voice recording software they're using. The more I went along though - and this book requires investment, at times you will want to stop and that will most likely be because it feels like nothing is happening - the more that it made sense.

One one hand we have Naomi, a journalist looking to cover the story about a French philosopher couple (one of whom has vanished, the other has been murdered and partly cannibalized). On the other we have Nathan, another journalist and Naomi's boyfriend, who is interviewing this odd Hungarian surgeon and then ends up in Toronto after encountering an infection.

There is a lot of description here and I think it would make a great film - except for the fact that said film would certain be X rated in parts. It is a weird book, but one that I'm still trying to puzzle out and would love to read again with a notepad handy.

If you like Cronenberg's films (I do), you owe it yourself to give his first novel a try. It has its problems but it's just as weird, horrific, and thought provoking as you're used to in his films.

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