Saturday, May 23, 2015

Begging to Drag You Down With Me, to Kick the Last Nail In

Disintegration
by Richard Thomas
5/5

I think it was a Chuck Palahniuk essay I read that said you should never leave your character alone. I wanted to link to it, because it was a great essay, but I can't seem to find it now. But I'm getting a little off topic here. Disintegration is a pretty fantastic example of knowingly breaking a rule.

We spend most of our time with... uh, the Narrator. Who I'm just now realizing doesn't have a name I ever remember reading. Which is just fine because he's no one. Or, at least, he wants to be no one because being someone means coming to terms with what he lost. Which is everything.

This is the story of a man going mad. With nothing left to tether him to reality, besides an aloof cat called Luscious, he's slipping down the rabbit hole pretty fast. And he's going to take as many people down with him as he can.

Disintegration mixes black and white until it turns all grey and red. It doesn't just blur the line between real and paranoid delusion-- it zig zags back and forth, tangling the two together. It's dark and moody with plenty of sex and violence. I haven't worried so much about a cat since Pet Semetary.

The characters are strangely relatable. Like, I feel like I actually know some of them (in less extreme circumstances, obviously),which is nuts because I usually have a really hard time relating to adult characters. Like I've missed out on whatever magical rite of passage that happens to make me feel like I know what I'm supposed to be doing. But these people do all the same things my friends do (aside from the murder, I'm pretty sure). They wear hoodies and listen to music I know. They've got kids and responsibilities, but that's not where they end. They make the best the decisions they know how to make. They fuck up. 

This is one of those books that I'm afraid to say much about. It's all so super tense and secrety that I think I might give something away. Despite being pretty heavy, it's... easy... fun... none of those words are really right. They make it sound light. And it's definitely not that.

The narrator is so unreliable that I found myself wondering if any of it happened at all or if we were all just caught up in the violent fantasy of a desperate man. It's that kind of a mindfuck. So, just trust me when I say it's a good read. 

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