Thursday, October 29, 2015

Consumed by David Cronenberg

by David Cronenberg
2 stars - started off fine, deteriorated as it went
ALR Green - thank goodness

Naomi and Nathan. Two photo-journalists who thrive on their pursuit of sensation and depravity. Naomi is off to discover the truth behind the murder and partial consumption of Celestine Arosteguy by her husband, Aristide. Nathan is documenting questionable surgeries by Zoltan Molnar, whose record includes human organ trafficking. 

Nathan has sex with one of Molnar's patients and contracts a rare STD called Roiphe's disease. That leads him to track down Dr. Roiphe himself, both for a cure and to see if there's a story. There is. Turns out Dr. Roiphe is a bit, well, odd, and his resident daughter is totally coo coo nutty.

OK, friends, this is David Cronenberg. That means the reader is going to expect some squirmy, icky stuff and there is plenty of that. The first 175 pages were great. Four star stuff. Like his movies, the setup and scenes danced along the edge of too disturbing to continue. Lots of "he isn't going to... OMG, he is!" situations. 

Gross and mesmerizing.

And then, boom, off the cliff he goes. Because the narrative changes from third person observations of Naomi and Nathan to a first person account by the still very much alive and on the run Aristide Arosteguy of the circumstances leading up to his wife's demise. Everything changes. 

For 60 pages the reader is subjected to a dense narrative that is too convoluted, too philosophical, and too breast obsessed for this reader. By the time Mr. Cronenberg resumed his previous writing style, I was just about done. I struggled through the last 70 pages, but he'd lost me. I no longer cared about anybody, about their weird obsessions, about much of anything. Splat.

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