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Hazel

Most disturbing books

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In terms of books I wish I could unread, I'd unread The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon if I could.
My impression, FLS, is not that you'd like to have all memories of The Shadow of the Wind erased from your brain, à la Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but just that you resent having wasted time on what is, in my opinion as well, a mediocre and over-hyped book. (I never added my amazon review... I'll do it in a minute...)

 

Now as for the Marquis de Sade... his books may be about the most depraved libertines imaginable, but they are written in the most exquisite 18th-century prose imaginable, which somehow makes them bearable... But the Pasolini film of Les 120 Jours de Sodome I do distinctly recall as being very, very unpleasant (oh those steaming tureens of you know what [cf. spoiler in Squirls's post...], and the bellowed order: "Mangia!") - and there was a rather awkward atmosphere in the cinema all the way through... we were all wondering if we really ought to be there... apart, that is, from the man who kept taking photos of the screen...

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I must say that America Psycho is the most disturbing book I think I've ever read. I have read The Road, and whilst I found it bleak I wouldn' call it disturbing as such.

 

Agree with Grammath that John Self in Martin Amis's 'Money' is pretty disturbing!

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Now as for the Marquis de Sade... his books may be about the most depraved libertines imaginable, but they are written in the most exquisite 18th-century prose imaginable, which somehow makes them bearable

I've got to say I quite like de Sade's stuff on occasion. I like that he gave free reign to his fantasy and in an engaging way. And he himself was fascinating character. The style almost certainly reigns supreme over the content. In contrast, in the recent trend for sex-memoir tripe, like Catherine Millet, neither subject or style are any good and these books to me are seedy and valueless.

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I must say that America Psycho is the most disturbing book I think I've ever read.
True, but brilliantly so. Scenes that stand out for me are ones like the shower scene where Patrick lists every cosmetic/toiletry item that he uses - scenes like that coupled with the equally detailed torture scenes relayed with the same detached pedantry are the book's genius. Sorry - I could talk for hours about that book!

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I have read The Road, and whilst I found it bleak I wouldn' call it disturbing as such.
My thoughts exactly. Other than that, I've only read "Kevin" from those listed and that was disturbing. Some of the others sound positively distressing, especially "The Girl Next Door". I'm going to have to try to flush that precis from my memory soon or I'll have bad dreams! I have to say that I avoid books that are likely to be very gory or violent. However much I feel that I can dissociate from the prose, anything that it too graphic upsets me quite profoundly.

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My impression, FLS, is not that you'd like to have all memories of The Shadow of the Wind erased from your brain, à la Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but just that you resent having wasted time on what is, in my opinion as well, a mediocre and over-hyped book
True, although there are times I wish I could just erase the whole thing from my memory.

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A blogger, I think, has come up with his 10 Most Disturbing Books. I have read a few of them and would agree on their inclusion on the list. Can we come up with any more?

 

This site appears to be dodgy, so I closed on it. Enough infection in the house without exposing self to more.

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I'll read anything. After all, it's only words. Apart from In Cold Blood the most fascinating/spooky book for me is Mailer'sThe Executioner's Song. Both are real-life fictions that make you quiver for days after closing them.

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One thing that comes to mind as particularly disturbing is one part, not the whole, of Ian McEwen's The Innocent - not to give too much away it concerns a disposal. Another book that I found too painful to imagine reading again, many years ago, was Elias Canetti's Auto da Fé. I didn't find Kevin disturbing because it seemed unconvincing and flawed to me. It's a pleasure to be able to agree with anyone who has trashed Shadow of the Wind, one of the most ridiculous books I've ever read.

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ennui Wrote:

"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 have those and I had tears pouring down my cheeks when I was reading them. I would totally agree with those I have another one which is in the same vein, its not a fiction book its jaw droppingly evil it really makes for very uncomfortable reading its called called Commandant of Auschwitz and was written by Rudolf Hoess it was written by him in the period between his trial and execution. The introduction to the book is by a man called Primo Levi who I believe is a survivor of Auschwitz sums it up very well he said

This book is filled with evil and this evil is narrated with a disturbing bureaucratic obtruseness, it has no literary quality, and reading it is agony. furthermore his attempts at defending himself the author comes across as what he is: a coarse stupid arrogant longwinded scoundrel who sometimes batently lies, yet this autobiography of the Commandant of Auschwitz is one of the most instructive books ever published...

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The introduction to the book is by a man called Primo Levi who I believe is a survivor of Auschwitz sums it up very well he said
Levi was a survivor of Auschwitz, he fell from a balcony in 1987 and it was ruled suicide.

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This site appears to be dodgy...

 

It does and keeps closing down my browser so I haven't been able to read the entire list. Anyway, one of the most disturbing books I ever read was Sartre's 'Nausea'. The very idea that everything could be reduced to nothingness still has a disturbing effect on me many years later.

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