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FICTION/Cronenbe David
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Suspense fiction
New York : Scribner 2014.
First Scribner hardcover edition
Physical Description
308 pages ; 24 cm
Main Author
David Cronenberg, 1943- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

For cineasts raised on Cronenberg's brilliant, twisted mid-'70s-to-mid-'80s oeuvre—video nasties like Rabid, The Brood, Videodrome, and Scanners—this debut will feel like a homecoming. Photojournalists and lovers Naomi and Nathan find themselves jetting off to Tokyo and Toronto, respectively, to chase two connected stories. The first is the breaking international mystery of aged Marxist philosopher Aristide Arosteguy, who has vanished after apparently cannibalizing his wife (who believed, incidentally, that her left breast was roiling with insects). Nathan, meanwhile, catches a rare STD called "Roiphe's disease" from an experimental cancer patient, which leads him to Dr. Roiphe himself and his troubled daughter, Chase, who snips bits of her flesh with a fingernail cutter and eats them—and has a disturbing tie to the Arosteguys. The biggest revelation here is that Cronenberg is a gangbusters novelist. His dense, aristocratic prose is saturated with details of technology, sex, and disease—all forms of cannibalism, he seems to suggest—and every salacious bit is elevated to a thing of perverse beauty. Let's hope Cronenberg makes this book-writing thing a priority. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

This first novel by Cronenberg has all the creepy smartness of his famous films. Exemplary freelance journalists of the social media age, Naomi and Nathan meet only in airport hotel rooms. While Naomi investigates what happened to Célestine Arosteguy, found dead and partly eaten in the apartment she shared with missing husband Aristide, like her a Marxist philosopher and sexual adventurer, Nathan contracts a sexually transmitted disease in Budapest, where he has gone to photograph an unlicensed surgeon once accused of organ trafficking, [Page 67]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

The murder of Celestine Arosteguy, and that she was apparently cooked and eaten by her philosopher lover Aristide, is a lure journalist Naomi cannot ignore. Naomi will pursue the story through every decadent, disturbing twist until she has gathered the details in full. Nathan, Naomi's lover, contracts a rare STD while following a story of his own and sets out to learn the secrets of his condition. Technology and flesh, philosophy and psychology, and all the strange and wonderful pieces of humanity that make us singular and social and sometimes just a little scary: movie director Cronenberg's debut novel is a deep, quite often dark, stare through a camera lens and into wonderfully unsettling corners. VERDICT This fast-paced work flows beautifully from scene to scene—no punches held, no descriptions glossed over. It will appeal to fans of Cronenberg's films and those who like a bit of the philosophical in their thrillers. [See Prepub Alert, 3/10/14.]—April Steenburgh, George F. Johnson Memorial Lib., Endwell, NY [Page 64]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In the debut novel from the director of The Fly and The Dead Zone, lovers Naomi Seberg and Nathan Math fancy themselves journalists. They are social-media addicts obsessed with the minutia of technology and vapid sensation. Naomi becomes obsessed with the murder and subsequent consumption of French intellectual Célestine Arosteguy by her dapper husband, Aristide. Questing after the truth, Naomi pursues Aristide to Japan, and they become romantically entangled. In France, intermittently faithful Nathan falls for a doomed cancer patient. While the lovers are disconnected by geography, they are more intimately connected than either can suspect. Cronenberg may be best known for his films, but this cool, unsympathetic examination of self-absorbed intellectuals shows that his skills as a prose author are not to be discounted. Neither Naomi nor Nathan is in any way endearing, but their descent into bizarre depravity is fascinating, even darkly humorous. The convolutions of the plot are as uninhibited by plausibility as the characters are by common decency, but readers will find it impossible to look away from the grotesque spectacle. Agent: Andrew Wylie, Wylie Agency. (Sept.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

While freelance journalist Naomi places her safety in the hands of a suspicious grad student to investigate a sexual philosopher's murder, her rival and lover, Nathan, contracts a rare STD while documenting a surgeon's controversial work in organ trafficking. A first novel. 75,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

While freelance journalist Naomi places her safety in the hands of a suspicious graduate student to investigate a philosopher's murder, her rival and lover, Nathan, contracts a rare STD while documenting a surgeon's controversial work in organ trafficking.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The exhilarating debut novel by iconic filmmaker David Cronenberg: the story of two journalists whose entanglement in a French philosopher’s death becomes a surreal journey into global conspiracy.Stylish and camera-obsessed, Naomi and Nathan thrive on the yellow journalism of the social-media age. They are lovers and competitors—nomadic freelancers in pursuit of sensation and depravity, encountering each other only in airport hotels and browser windows.Naomi finds herself drawn to the headlines surrounding Célestine and Aristide Arosteguy, Marxist philosophers and sexual libertines. Célestine has been found dead and mutilated in her Paris apartment. Aristide has disappeared. Police suspect him of killing her and consuming parts of her body. With the help of an eccentric graduate student named Hervé Blomqvist, Naomi sets off in pursuit of Aristide. As she delves deeper into Célestine and Aristide's lives, disturbing details emerge about their sex life—which included trysts with Hervé and others. Can Naomi trust Hervé to help her?Nathan, meanwhile, is in Budapest photographing the controversial work of an unlicensed surgeon named Zoltán Molnár, once sought by Interpol for organ trafficking. After sleeping with one of Molnár’s patients, Nathan contracts a rare STD called Roiphe’s. Nathan then travels to Toronto, determined to meet the man who discovered the syndrome. Dr. Barry Roiphe, Nathan learns, now studies his own adult daughter, whose bizarre behavior masks a devastating secret.These parallel narratives become entwined in a gripping, dreamlike plot that involves geopolitics, 3-D printing, North Korea, the Cannes Film Festival, cancer, and, in an incredible number of varieties, sex. Consumed is an exuberant, provocative debut novel from one of the world’s leading film directors.