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» One Touch Football - Archive » Books » What's the grimmest bit of literature you can think of? (Page 2)

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Author Topic: What's the grimmest bit of literature you can think of?
Not me
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Nah, that's too banal to be properly grim. Would have made a good short story or novella, though.

Gilles de Rais was also the focus of J.K. Huysmans' La Bas, an excellent, semi-autobiographical novel too busy being compelling to dip into grimness. One of the greatest writers of all time, Huysmans.

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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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de Rais, that's it.
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Mat Pereira
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Gilles de Rais was one of the earliest supporters of Joan of Arc, you know.

Well, you almost certainly did know, but I just thought i'd mention it. When I was a kid, I was taken to The London Dungeon by my sister and brother, the waxwork of Gilles de Rais killing a boy on his four-poster bed gave me nightmares for ages.

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Gangster Octopus
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Those two books on Russian history, The People's Tragedy and Stalingrad, are both utterly depressing.
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Hieronymus Bosch
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In an extremely similar vein, there is a book about the Russians' first modern invasion of Chechnya (1994) called A Small Victorious War. The first 40 pages are awesomely horrible: a meticulous recounting of the Red Army's inept initial attempts to take Grozny in a series of street battles, with mass slaughter ensuing on both sides. The rest of the book is no picnic either.

[ 07.08.2005, 02:00: Message edited by: Harvey Smith ]

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Tubby Isaacs
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Platform had some rather feel good sex in it, Ant. Well, it did at the page my mate's copy kept opening at.
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Inca
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I'll always remember this part in Anthony Loyd's My War Gone By, I Miss It So, about Bosnia. Serb fighters had basically destroyed a village and everyone in it, and Loyd came upon the destruction. He writes that someone put a plastic bucket over a cow's head, leaving it blind. He struggled to get it off but he couldn't.
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and I am the life
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The grimmest thing I've ever read, though I hesitate to call it literature, is the excrable American Psycho.

when i first saw this thread I immediately thought of this book, a book without any merit whatsoever, and one that makes you almost disgusted to be a human.

not because the character is such a bad person, but that there is someone out there prepared to right such a shitty book.

It's like swimming in a septic tank.

Oh an brett easton ellis is as much of a wanker as you'd think he was reading his shitty book.

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GIK
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Another grim read is the awful, pretentious "69 Things to Do with a Dead Princess" by Stewart Home. A mix of hardcore sex, stone-age tourism and Lit. Crit. Oddly compelling but essentially nasty and superior.

I echo AIATL's sentiments regarding American Psycho. Filth.

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Mat Pereira
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The only thing i've read by Stewart Home is 'Sex Kick' a fairly long short story about a disperate group of people trying to make several pornographic movies. He basically tries to put a different fetish into every single scene. There's one bit for instance where a woman is tied to a chair by a business rival and is covered in jam and custard. The whole thing's like that. It's quite funny in places.

Erm, I can't think of any more grim bits of literature at the moment.

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hobbes
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quote:
The grimmest thing I've ever read, though I hesitate to call it literature, is the excrable American Psycho.
Wrong wrong wrong! American Psycho is a work of genius. A satirical take on the "greed is good" attitudes of the 80's on the surface, but when you scratch deeper it's more about the utter removal from reality of the "haves" and the need to keep testing those boundaries by going further, getting away with more, seeing where someone will draw the line and finally say NO! Enough! It's about grown ups as children, warped by having everything material they want thrown at them but never actually what they need. Recognition of their individuality and uniqueness. Bateman is just an exteme of this, forever pushing transcending the normal boudaries, desperate for someone to notice and say no to him. Which of course, no one does.
To take it at face value (especially the violent scenes) is to miss the entire purpose of the book. To suggest that because it's really fucking sick in places makes it bad literature is simplistic bollocks. The fact that it provokes such ire shows how easily people, even people on here supposedly above such things, jump into the moral majority when confronted with something a bit controversial.
Personally, I think Ellis was right up there satirically, with Chris Morris. American Psycho is his Brass Eye Peadophilia Special. Only in a book, you can go much further than you can on tv.

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Pants
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Well said, Hobbes. Totally agree. I wanted to say something along those lines but didn't have the time to wade into a huge debate about Bret Easton Ellis. The Genesis/Huey Lewis chapters especially are total genius.
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Not me
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I'd more or less agree, although I don't think it's as good a novel as Hobbes does. Calling it "filth" is just knee-jerk nonsense, and I'm quite surprised any OTFer would stoop so low.

The narrator/protagonist Patrick Bateman is just a sad, lonely cipher for the values of American ultra-capitalism. The novel is a first-person narrative which I read as the internal blethering of a one-off man-mental; I never took the murder/sexual humiliation scenes (stolen pretty much wholesale from slasher pics and porn, according to the author) as being realistic. And even if you think they are, it's hardly going to endear you to 'our hero' - what's wrong a novel portraying contemptible characters acting horribly?

Now, one reason I don't care much about the book is because I've never lived in its milieu or encountered real-life yuppies. But one thing Ellis captured brilliantly was the kind of solipsism and obsession men can slip into when they're not properly socially involved but have free reign over their environment. And parts of the novel - most obviously the parts about music - are screamingly funny. You're laughing at this prick throughout, never sympathising with him.

It's nowhere near being a successful, Brass Eye-style satire, though. Ellis simply is not as intelligent as Morris; he can detect where the action's at, but doesn't really know what to do when he gets there. The real problem with AP - as with most of Ellis's work - is the lack of editing. He's got this unfortunate, indulged-by-US-creative-writing-classes habit of listing tedious details or spinning vast, directionless passages of realist prose because, like, that's a bit like life or something.

As I say, it would have made a much better short story or novella.

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thom
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Put me on the hobbes, pants and Leo side of the dividing line re: American Psycho.

My take would lie somewhere between hobbes' and Leo's.

[ 10.08.2005, 14:03: Message edited by: thom ]

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Mat Pereira
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I've only actually read the pop music bits of 'American Pscho' and agree they're piss-yourself funny.
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