Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
I dunno enough about 80s fashion to pick up on it myself but apparently if you do, it becomes increasingly noticeable that the outfits Bateman's describing are completely bizarre and nobody would ever have worn them.
Hmm, I hadn't noticed that about the fashion either but it's certainly the case with the food, which often sounds both opulent and horrible - pan-blackened king prawns in a bitter chocolate sauce, etc. etc.

If this gets progressively more pronounced as the book goes on then I suppose it's a warning about his increasing unreliability as a narrator? It's a neat idea. Actually it's a good example of a book that's very cleverly written without ever beating you over the head about how clever it is.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
I recently read someone saying the murders made it too on the nose and it would have been better without them. At the moment, I agree.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Anyone read any of his other stuff? I liked Less than Zero and The Rules of Attraction and Glamorama had its moments. Lunar Park I wasn't so hot on. It was pretty entertaining and a couple of scenes were quite moving, but overall it was just silly and a bit hokey.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Anyone read any of his other stuff? I liked Less than Zero and The Rules of Attraction and Glamorama had its moments. Lunar Park I wasn't so hot on. It was pretty entertaining and a couple of scenes were quite moving, but overall it was just silly and a bit hokey.
No, I've only read American Psycho, though I've always wanted to read some of his others. Maybe this thread will inspire me to do something about this.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
They're something of a guilty pleasure of mine as they're pretty horrible in places and he's generally frowned upon for being such an arsehole irl, but they're very readable if you don't expect anything more than stylish wallowing.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
They're something of a guilty pleasure of mine as they're pretty horrible in places and he's generally frowned upon for being such an arsehole irl, but they're very readable if you don't expect anything more than stylish wallowing.
You've piqued my interest - are there any juicy anecdotes here or is he just non-specifically rude and unpleasant?
 

entertainment

Active member
This does sound interesting. I'm not familiar enough with either schizophrenia or modernism to comment on how true it is. I presume a psychiatrist has a good understanding of schizophrenia, at least!
It's one of the most fascinating books I've read! I'd recommend it just for the explanation of modernist art and its defining features. Correction, he's a clinical psychologist who works with phenomenological understandings of schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is a really strange illness that basically has no consistent identifiable characteristics on the surface. The state is basically defined by its sheer strangeness and resistance to interpretation. He goes into all these underpinning psychological mechanics but the explanations are very vivid and full of poignant analogies.

Here's one patient describing her experience of the early stages of her schizophrenia, taken from her diary.

"For me, madness was definitely not a condition of illness; I did not blieve that I was Ill. It was rather a country, opposed to Reality, where reigned an implacable light, blinding, leaving no place for shadow; an immense space without boundary, limitless, flat; a mineral , lunar country, cold as the wastes of the North Pole. In this stretching emptiness, all in unchangeable, immoble, congealed, crystallized. Objects are stage trappings, placed here and there, geometric cubes without meaning. People turn weirdly about, they make gestures, movements without sense; they are phantoms whirling on an infinite plain, crushed by the pitiless electric light. And I - I am lost in it, isolated, cold, stripped, purposeless under the light. A wall of brass seperates me from everybody and everything... This was it; this was madness, the Enlightenments was the perception of Unreality. Madness was finding oneself permanently in an all-embracing Unreality. I called it The Land of Light because of the brilliant illumination, dazzling, astral, cold, and the state of extreme tension in which everything was, including myself."

This initial stage is characterized by the person having lost contact with things, or everything having undergone some subtle, all-encopassing change. Reality seems unreal. No hallucinations or delusions but everything just lacking human resonance, totally fragmented but at the same time vivid and illuminated with brilliant dazzling light, some experiencing a crystal clear profoundly penetrating vision of the essence of things, yet this meaning always seems just beyond of comprehension. Even the most articulate of patients describe an inadequacy of language to describe this all-pervasive mood. They feel no joy or sadness but either eerie anticipation or sometimes a kind of electric exaltation. A conjoint sense of meaningfulness and meaninglessness.

He talks about the paintings of proto-surrealist Giorgio De Chiciro here. Himself a schizoid person who used to describe his view reality as a museum of strangeness.

 

WashYourHands

Active member
Convinced & ordered.

Unica Zurn & Leonora Carrington come to mind, if you supplant schizoid for traumatised with the latter. Man of Jasmine, Cold Spring & Down Below are all well worth indulging during lockdown, if for no other reason than their insights into the ineffability of torment, but Carrington’s visual worlds are the ones that have lived strongest in my mind.

Right allongside Remedios Varos & Ithell Colquhoun for the sheer strangeness of their art.
 

entertainment

Active member
Convinced & ordered.

Unica Zurn & Leonora Carrington come to mind, if you supplant schizoid for traumatised with the latter. Man of Jasmine, Cold Spring & Down Below are all well worth indulging during lockdown, if for no other reason than their insights into the ineffability of torment, but Carrington’s visual worlds are the ones that have lived strongest in my mind.

Right allongside Remedios Varos & Ithell Colquhoun for the sheer strangeness of their art.
I think I saw some art film about Carrington or inspired by her a few years back and got in to her. Really fantastic paintings, grips you like a dream.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
de Chirico has a book that's supposed to be quite something,

Hebdomeros: With Monsieur Dudron's Adventure and Other Metaphysical Writings

The artist Giorgio de Chirico's novel, Hebdomeros is a dream-like book of situations and landscapes reminiscent of his paintings. In his introduction John Ashbery calls the book "the finest work of Surrealist fiction," noting that de Chirico "invented for the occasion a new style and a new kind of novel . . . his long run-on sentences, stitched together with semi-colons, allow a cinematic freedom o f narration . . . his language, like his painting, is invisible: a transparent but dense medium containing objects that are more real than reality." Hebdomeros is accompanied by an appendix of previously untranslated or uncollected writings, including M. Dudron's Adventure, a second, fragmentary novel translated by John Ashbery.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
I really enjoy de Chirico's art, despite not really knowing much about it.
Carrington and Ithell Colquhoun also both wrote surreal novels (with elements of alchemical law I guess) too but I enjoyed de Chirico's bizarre stream of consciousness rant more.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Brett Easton Ellis I've read virtually all his novels I think. Certainly I found the earlier ones such as Less Than Zero in many ways more disturbing than the really gory ones - Glamourama and American Psycho - cos often the lives of these empty rich kids appear on the surface to have all the elements necessary for happiness and yet they are depressed and depressing without any need for the introduction of cartoonish ultraviolence.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
I seem to recall paintings by de Chirico being used as cover illustrations for the 'grown up' editions of the His Dark Materials novels, which is quite appropriate, given the setting in worlds that are simultaneously alien and familiar.
 
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