Author: Nick Tosches
When a man of letters, a man whose skill with words and languages evokes great emotion, swills it away on a novel about his hypothetical (we hope) self, what appears is a novel about despair in the most depraved concept possible. Nick, the protagonist, is an aging alcoholic, who believes he is near death, and who has a self masturbatory air about him of destruction. Through S&M with virginal and self destructive young women whom he meets in bars and out and about New York City (how obvious – where else?), Nick decides that he can become a god, overcome his alcoholism and regenerate his aging physical body to genetic youth restoration by biting his women and sucking their blood. Certainly not particularly concerned with vampirism per se, Nick is on the quest for the most deviant sexual acts that he can find. The novel spirals out of control from the first sentence, as Mr. Tosches, one of our most brilliant linguists and writers, wastes himself and his novel on the trivialities of disgust, nihilism and horror.
The Portrait of the Artist derives its magic in deconstruction and recreation. Tosches simply simpers about his angst, his misogyny, his prejudice, the rank waste of tweets and tits, and goes on to bore us into tears as we try to jump a step ahead and look up his avuncular vocabulary in Websters.
The waste? Tosches is a great writer, brilliant even. But unlike Guernica, there is no art in Me and the Devil. Simply a sick narcissism and a stark rendition of sexual deviation that makes no sense whatsoever. Steig Larssen’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo certainly carried its own brand of sexual deviancy, and enhanced the situation of the characters and plot. I yawned the entire way through Me and the Devil and Nick’s despair was so repeatedly blatant that I wanted to knock him over the head with a dildo.
If you like detailed deviant sexuality, rent a porn movie. Or buy Me and the Devil. I am not per se against a plot that utilizes despair and S&M as I said when it enhances the plot and describes a situation that becomes a part of the totality of the novel. Tosches may feel that he is trying to be an unlawful and tart writer of the doomed; however, Me and the Devil comes across, to me, as gnash trash.
Sorry, Nick, no go.
PS: To my apparent horror, this has been listed on the internet as one of 11 great books of December. Read it and form your own opinion. But be warned: you might want to toss back a valium along with our buddy Nick when you finish.
Me and the Devil is available for purchase.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Overall: YUCK points
Review by Broad “A” – Ava
We received a copy of this title for our book review. All opinions are our own.