Montag, 7. Mai 2018

Nine of the Most Violent Works of Literary Fiction

Most works of literary fiction aren’t heavy on the violence. After all, where’s the time, with all that wordplay and character development filling up space? I’m joking (sort of), but I think it’s fair to say that considering our generic conventions, extremely violent novels are much more likely to be horror, or crime, or even suspense—at least, these are the books that tend to have the plot lines and the fandoms to support an excess of bloodshed. But there are a few disturbingly violent books that do generally get categorized as literary fiction—which means that despite all the gory stuff, they’ve also cleared whatever nebulous generic bar that entails. Below, nine of the most violent books that are also widely celebrated as literary works of fiction.

cormac mccarthy blood meridian Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian

You could put several McCarthy novels on this list, but I think Blood Meridian is the best and certainly among the most brutal. We are informed, on the book’s very first page, when we have our first glimpse of our protagonist (only a child) that “in him broods already a taste for mindless violence.” The violence to come in this book is indeed mindless (for most), and constant and intense. The kid is violent, and so is the gang he joins, whose members are ostensibly collecting the scalps of Apaches, but are really happy to murder anyone and everyone they encounter, and so, of course, is the terrifying and hairless Judge Holden, the only character whose love for bloodshed is intensified by philosophical surety. “War is at last a forcing of the unity of existence,” he says. “War is god.” Fun fact: it took Harold Bloom three tries to get into this novel, so appalled was he at the violence—but once he’d weathered it, he rated it “the greatest single book since Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying.” ....  [mehr]

The other eight books are: Ryu Murakami, Piercing; Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho; Roberto Bolaño, 2666; Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle; Patrick McCabe, The Butcher Boy; Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory; Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange; William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus

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