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Thread: Disturbing Literature

  1. #1
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    Disturbing Literature

    Out of boredom and because I thought I might get some interesting results I began to do a Google search on most disturbing cartoons but you know how Google likes to predict what you are looking for? So most disturbing books popped up in the search list and that caught my attention. I looked through some of the online lists and it was interesting seeing what different people classify as disturbing. There were some predictable books, some books I was not familliar with which sounded interesting, a few books that I thought were surprisingly absent, and a few books I woukd not deem particularly disturbing.

    This made me currious

    What are some of the most disturbing books you have read?

    I am interested in your own perceptions of what disturbing is so I am not looking for any particular type of book.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  2. #2
    Eiseabhal
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    I read a novel by Muriel Spark titled The Driving Seat. It suggested more that Spark was disturbed. Crash is disturbing in the same way.

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    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    The Driver's Seat as an interesting book.

    Are speaking of the Crash by J.G. Ballard? I am on the fence with myself it I want to tackle that one.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    I tend to find non-fiction more disturbing than fiction, for example anything by Richard Dawkins or The Revenge of Gaia by James Lovelock. I also found the Bible pretty disturbing. There was a bit in Acts of the Apostles when some financial donors were struck dead because they had not given everything, which chilled me. In non-fiction, I cannot be very original, but Kazuo Ishiguro does a line in disturbing literature. The Remains of the Day made me reflect on my missed opportunities and made me wonder whether I was deluding myself or wasting my life. His latest, The Buried Giant is disturbing as it implies we are here because our ancestors committed genocide. I found the subject matter and the cover of Never Let Me Go so disturbing I resolved not to read it.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    somewhere else Helga's Avatar
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    The Story of the Eye by Bataille. I couldn't eat eggs for months after that one.
    I hope death is joyful, and I hope I'll never return -Frida Khalo

    If I seem insensitive to what you are going through, understand it's the way I am- Mr. Spock

    Personally, I think that the unique and supreme delight lies in the certainty of doing 'evil'–and men and women know from birth that all pleasure lies in evil. - Baudelaire

  6. #6
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    Based on the reviews I have read, I am grotesquely intrigued by it.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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    somewhere else Helga's Avatar
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    I thought it was good, disturbing but good. Also The Night of Lead by Hans Henny Jahnn is weird and dark, maybe not exactly disturbing but odd in a dark way... if that makes sense
    I hope death is joyful, and I hope I'll never return -Frida Khalo

    If I seem insensitive to what you are going through, understand it's the way I am- Mr. Spock

    Personally, I think that the unique and supreme delight lies in the certainty of doing 'evil'–and men and women know from birth that all pleasure lies in evil. - Baudelaire

  8. #8
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    It sounds interesting

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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    I would not advise reading the Bataille book unless you want to become a nyphomaniacal sadist with necrophilic and bestial tendencies. You would in effect be flogging a dead horse to read such stuff

  10. #10
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ennison View Post
    I would not advise reading the Bataille book unless you want to become a nyphomaniacal sadist with necrophilic and bestial tendencies.
    And how do you know I am not already one?

    Sorry just could not resist

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  11. #11
    Internal nebulae TheFifthElement's Avatar
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    Both The Driver's Seat and Crash are great books. Crash I think is pretty polarising - it could be perceived as brilliant or cheap dodgy porn. Personally I found the obsession quality quite mesmerising.

    Jerzy Kosinski's The Painted Bird was so disturbing I couldn't finish reading it. It just seemed to get more and more depraved and grotesque. Perhaps a truer representation of the horrors of war than are seen in most books. Similarly Ryu Murakami's In the Miso Soup is pretty depraved.

    I wonder if it's as interesting how people interpret the idea of 'disturbing' literature. When I thought about this initially I thought about books that were oppressive or violent, but then I also thought of some books which have, I suppose, mentally disturbed me in some way like Catch 22 (Heller) and Hunger (Hamsun) both of which I had to put aside because they were making me feel crazy. Kobo Abe's fiction - The Woman in the Dunes, The Kangaroo Notebook & The Box Man - are disturbing in a different way, mainly in their representation of obsessional or oppressive elements of human nature. And then I thought about Mills and Boon books and Fifty Shades of Grey which are disturbing in other ways (I'm thinking writing quality & inexplicable popularity here!). Would be interested in other people's thoughts.
    Want to know what I think about books? Check out https://biisbooks.wordpress.com/

  12. #12
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFifthElement View Post
    Both The Driver's Seat and Crash are great books. Crash I think is pretty polarising - it could be perceived as brilliant or cheap dodgy porn. Personally I found the obsession quality quite mesmerising.

    Jerzy Kosinski's The Painted Bird was so disturbing I couldn't finish reading it. It just seemed to get more and more depraved and grotesque. Perhaps a truer representation of the horrors of war than are seen in most books. Similarly Ryu Murakami's In the Miso Soup is pretty depraved.

    I wonder if it's as interesting how people interpret the idea of 'disturbing' literature. When I thought about this initially I thought about books that were oppressive or violent, but then I also thought of some books which have, I suppose, mentally disturbed me in some way like Catch 22 (Heller) and Hunger (Hamsun) both of which I had to put aside because they were making me feel crazy. Kobo Abe's fiction - The Woman in the Dunes, The Kangaroo Notebook & The Box Man - are disturbing in a different way, mainly in their representation of obsessional or oppressive elements of human nature. And then I thought about Mills and Boon books and Fifty Shades of Grey which are disturbing in other ways (I'm thinking writing quality & inexplicable popularity here!). Would be interested in other people's thoughts.
    Yes I think that is an interesting question, and one of the reasons why I posted here, I wanted to see why kind of variety I would get in what different people consider distributing. A lot of people do have a tendency it go for the depraved and grotesque but when I was contemplating this topic one of the books which popped up into my mind was Notes From Underground. I absolutely loved that book, but I do think it is disturbing on a more psychological/mental level.

    I will have to look up some of those books you mentioned. I have Addicted Personality Disorder and as part that a tendency to become very obsessive so the topic of obsession in various different art forms fascinates me.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    As a teeager I read Dostoyevsky's The Devils (aka The Possessed or more recently Demons) and I was deeply disturbed by this passage:

    “What she means is that, for instance, we know that the superstition about God arose from thunder and lightning,” said the girl student… “It’s well known fact that primitive man, terrified by thunder and lightning, deified the invisible enemy, being aware of his own weakness before iit. But how did the superstition about the family arise?? How did the family itself arise?”

    The Devils Part 2 Chapter 7 tr. David Magarshack 1953


    At that moment, beyond my window in the seaside resort which was my home town stretched an infinite meaningless space of such immensity there could be no possible value in my life. Any mundane life was irretrievably trivial.

    I've just re-read the book and found it curiously profoundly consoling. There is more to life and I can only express that adequately in terms of God and God's gift to us.

    "God is necessary to me if only because he is the only being one can love eternally" as the hopeless pseud Verkovensky says on his deathbed.
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

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    I have a novel called baby****er. The title is exactly whats it about.

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    I have a sensitive spot when it comes to domination especially involving brainwashing so a couple i found strangely disturbing were
    The Magician by Somerset Maugham
    The Beetle by Richard Marsh, purely a personal thing i imagine for those two quite old books.
    Also Stepford Wives.

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