Jump to content

Most disturbing books


Hazel
 Share

Recommended Posts

I've read a couple of those and yes, they were disturbing.

 

But the most disturbing book I've ever (not quite) read is Joyce Carol Oates's Zombie, in which a man decides he wants a pet person and performs lobotomies on men he kidnaps, hoping eventually to get one right. Meanwhile, there is a mounting body count.

 

I couldn't finish it. I was thoroughly disturbed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

However I would like to know who has read which other ones as I would like to know a bit more about a couple of the others particularly Blindness.

Yes me too. I was intrigued by the idea that the Blindness might be an allegory for spiritual blindness. What exactly is spiritual blindness? It sounds like one of those phrases that's very easy to say, but not so easy to describe.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I couldn't finish We Need to Talk About Kevin, but The Road is on my wanted list. Not sure I want to read it now... not for pleasure anyway. At least now I know more of what to expect.

 

I thought this list was going to have more books on it like Lolita which could be disturbing in one sense... not that I've read that either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

when I was a teen we had to read a book called "Plague 99" by jean ure. It frightened the living daylights out of me and left me actually shaken for quite a while. I was really scared about the concept. Not sure if it would hold the same power now though.

 

"Forgotten voices of the holocaust" and "forgotten voices of the great war" by Max Arthur were non fiction books that really upset me and changed my perceptions of life. I even buy a poppy every year now.

 

I can't read that list as the site keep crashing my browser. I haven't read anything very shocking in my life though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only book on the list that I have read was Kevin, and I do not recall being particularly disturbed by it. Thinking back over the past 15 years or so the only books that come immediately to mind as disturbing are:

 

The Children's War - J.N. Stroyar

The Tax Inspector - Peter Carey

Damage - Josephine Hart

 

edit: Referring back to Nellie's post, above, the only one I would wish unread is Damage. A most unpleasant book!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But the most disturbing book I've ever (not quite) read is Joyce Carol Oates's Zombie, in which a man decides he wants a pet person and performs lobotomies on men he kidnaps, hoping eventually to get one right. Meanwhile, there is a mounting body count.

It sounds like a Frankenstein-y kind of read and thoroughly interesting.

 

I couldn't finish it. I was thoroughly disturbed.
Well, that's recommendation enough...off to add it to wishlist.

 

Out of the list, I have read -

 

Naked Lunch

We Need to Talk About Kevin

The Road

American Psycho

 

 

I have seen the film of Requiem for a Dream, and have Blindness on my bookshelf. Someone once recommended the Ketchum book to me and I tried to get it but couldn't get a copy. Maybe I'll try again. I may also try and get a couple more of the books on the list. I quite like the odd disturbing book, sometimes it's nice to live on the edge albeit vicariously. After all I do have a penchant for horror.

 

Out of the 4 I have read I would say that Kevin, Road and Psycho are amongst my very favourite books. AP especially had a major effect on me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think there's any book I would unread because it had a disturbing effect on me, but there's plenty I'd unread so I could experience all the magic of reading them again without knowing what comes next.

 

The books that have given me an experience I found disturbing are quite tame in comparison to the ones on this list, like Sleepers and The Stars Look Down just because they were quite bleak in their outlook on life.

 

I think I also had to put down Stephen King's The Stand but I was reading it in conjunction with seeing the dramatisation on the telly and both of them gave the heeby jeebies. I'm not good with horror. I know it, but every now and then I think I'll be alright and give it a go.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think there's any book I would unread because it had a disturbing effect on me, but there's plenty I'd unread so I could experience all the magic of reading them again without knowing what comes next.

 

That's such a different twist on what i was thinking of in terms of un-read. I don't think I would unread anything for being bad as mostly I stop reading them but to read something as new again there are a few that I would like to do that with most notably Possession by A S Byatt and Jasper Ffordes Thursday Next series

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Further to disturbing books, I read Killing for Company: Case of Dennis Nilsen, by Brian Masters and that was very disturbing. All the more so for being real life. It's the only book that gave me nightmares, although I still wouldn't unread it. Dennis Nilsen, in common with Jeffrey Dahmer, wanted to keep a pet human and attempted to lobotomise young boys that he picked up. Read Brian Masters book on Jeffrey Dahmer too. Neither for the faint hearted and both true.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I managed to read the list in the end.

 

Some I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole esp the one at numbers 1 and 2.

 

But I feel really fascinated by the concept of "we need to talk about Kevin." I have always wondered how the parents of people who do such awful things feel. I think it would be interesting to see how one person has envisioned their reactions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't read any of these. Should I?

 

I am grateful to Star for highlighting this article because one of the adverts on the age lead me to the PopCrunch website which is currently offering their choice of The 50 Hottest Female Olympians, The 50 Hottest Women of Tennis and The 50 Hottest Women of Sports. I feel I have learned a lot today. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only book I've read from this list is We Need to Talk About Kevin. I did once see a TV documentry about obscenity laws with Joan Bakewell will showed a short exerpt from the film based on 120 Days of Sodom. It was gut churningly depraved.

 

 

Let's just say it involved poo. Yeuch :o

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Out of the list, I have read -

 

Naked Lunch

We Need to Talk About Kevin

The Road

American Psycho

 

 

I have seen the film of Requiem for a Dream, and have Blindness on my bookshelf...I may also try and get a couple more of the books on the list. I quite like the odd disturbing book, sometimes it's nice to live on the edge albeit vicariously. After all I do have a penchant for horror.

 

Out of the 4 I have read I would say that Kevin, Road and Psycho are amongst my very favourite books. AP especially had a major effect on me.

 

Exactly the same for me, except I have copies of "Requiem for a Dream" and "Johnny Got His Gun" lurking somewhere on my bookshelves awaiting a read too.

 

I'd not heard of the white supremacist book which sounds very unpleasant indeed.

 

I didn't find Camus' "L'Etranger" disturbing, but I imagine some might.

 

Not disturbing as such, but the only book I couldn't finish because I found its lead character so despicable was Martin Amis's "Money", but I do intend to go back and have another go sometime.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only one I've read is Kevin - in fact, it brought me to BGO. Now that's disturbing - for everyone else, maybe!

I did find it disturbing, and I don't have kids - I had to warn a pregnant friend off reading it.

 

I have been wondering as I read this thread - surely there is a distinction to be drawn as to whether the disturbing nature of the book has a literary purpose? Good books should disturb us in some degree, but there must be fiction catering to particular tastes which disturbs in order to titillate, not to provoke serious debate. I wondered which category the books on the list come into. (I'm not familar with them all, though some, eg Kevin or The Road, are clearly serious in purpose.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...