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The most disturbing work of fiction that you have ever read

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For me it was Kafka's The Metamorphosis. Something about the transformation from human into giant cockroach with no explanation was disturbing enough but what really got to me was his misery upon being felt a burden by his family and eventually dying to relieve them of it. I read this when I was in school and to this day it still deeply disturbs me.

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Great thread, thanks for bumping this up, Ink92! :)

 

I would say Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite. I think I was reading this very same thread years ago and somebody mentioned Poppy Z. Brite, and I put a few of her books on my wishlist. Then I came upon a few copies of her books at a bookfair and snatched them. Definitely disturbing! And yet I enjoyed reading the book... :hide:

 

I would have to check my reading log but EC is the first book that comes to mind.

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I have yet to get up the nerve to read the really disturbing books but if I had to name one, it would be one by John Forshe (I think) I'm not even sure about the title. It may have been 60 Seconds. It was about the US being hit by some kind of terrorist attack that affected the computer system, the power grids, etc. This thing left the entire country isolated from each other, chaos reigned. It got ugly. One teacher managed to salvage some kind of humanity in his little town in North Carolina. I've got to find the name of that book!

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I would say Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite. I think I was reading this very same thread years ago and somebody mentioned Poppy Z. Brite, and I put a few of her books on my wishlist. Then I came upon a few copies of her books at a bookfair and snatched them. Definitely disturbing! And yet I enjoyed reading the book... :hide:

 

I would have to check my reading log but EC is the first book that comes to mind.

That was my nomination too!  Poppy is pretty graphic normally, but EC really does it up good.

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I'm a big Stephen King fan, but I really couldn't get on board with Full Dark, No Stars. The stories had no sympathetic characters and I found it bleak and nasty, leaving me with a feeling of desolation. Fortunately it seems to have been a King one-off.

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That was my nomination too!  Poppy is pretty graphic normally, but EC really does it up good.

 

:D So I started my Poppy Z. Brite journey with the most disturbing book of hers? Darn! Well I guess it's also a good thing. I know I can stomach the other books :D

 

 

For me it would have to be The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks, it was so strange it gave me weird dream/nightmares.

 

Ah yes, that's a great example. Such a weird and disturbing book. I know I have to re-read the book at some point, to see how it's different when I know that certain something about the book.

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Are the Poppy Z Brite books generally good despite the disturbing content, or good because of it.. if anyone knows what I mean?  :D

No, she has a great story behind the "splatterpunk" content, that is just an added bonus :P

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:D So I started my Poppy Z. Brite journey with the most disturbing book of hers? Darn! Well I guess it's also a good thing. I know I can stomach the other books :D

She has a book of vampire Erotica too :readingtwo:  :P

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Are the Poppy Z Brite books generally good despite the disturbing content, or good because of it.. if anyone knows what I mean?  :D

 

 I've only read one, but I would say it's a bit of both. I don't remember all the particulars, but I would say there was a good story, but I would also say that you have to be able to take the gory stuff in order to enjoy it.

 

So I guess it was good because and despite of :D

 

Edit: I would add that it's not just pure gory stuff for the sake of gory stuff. There's more to the book.

 

She has a book of vampire Erotica too :readingtwo:  :P

:D Which book is that?

Edited by frankie

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:D Which book is that?

Love in Vein :D gotta love that title, eh?

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Love in Vein :D gotta love that title, eh?

 

 

Haha, yes :D I will look out for it, thanks :) (Although I have to say... I've only once come across her books as secondhand :( I wonder if she's not very well known or popular.

 

Another book that I found disturbing, but really great. It's Under the Skin by Michel Faber. I don't want to say much about the book, because I love the way the story is told, and how the author is painting this picture and then little by little introduces more details to the action. Good stuff!

 

I will only say this: "Isserley always drove straight past a hitch-hiker when she first saw him, to give herself time to size him up."

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Spares by Michael Marshall Smith.

 

I'd probably read this again, I enjoyed the journey but with advances in Medical Sciences, you could see it coming true which was the disturbing part.

 

As the tag line said  "Spares – it’s fiction. But only just…"

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I came across this article in The Guardian this morning. http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2015/apr/10/what-are-the-most-disturbing-novels-bret-easton-ellis?CMP=ema_565

 

It's an interesting list.  There are only 4 that I've tried to read, and put aside.  The others I haven't even tried, or some not even heard of. 

The ones I've started and put aside are:

 

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, I've tried at least twice to read it and couldn't.

 

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks, I believe I've started it twice, and while I think I'd eventually be ok with it, both times I've put it aside. Just from the vibes I received at the beginning.

 

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, It wasn't any creepiness in this case that put me off, but the (to me, at least) disconnected story/style.  But Margaret Atwood is not ordinarily my cuppa in any case.

 

Regarding Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller, I've only started the film and in spite of my absolutely adoring Judi Dench, I couldn't bear to watch it.

Haven't tried the book. 

 

 

What is y'alls take on the subject? :)

Edited by pontalba

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I've only read The Wasp Factory and Notes on a Scandal from the list.  I did manage to finish them ... I thought The Wasp Factory was excellent, but I found Notes on a Scandal very unsettling and uncomfortable to read and the only reason I finished it was because it was for my book group.

 

Funnily enough, in another thread this week I mentioned Under The Skin by Michel Faber, which I found disturbing and only managed about 100 pages as it made me squirm in my chair and couldn't read any more.

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The only thing I've read off that list is Guts by Chuck Palahnuik, and yeah, I remember that making me feel a bit queasy. Pretty sure I was in secondary school so that's a good ten years ago and it still makes me cringe. The Wasp Factory is on my TBR pile though.

 

I'm not sure that I've read any particularly disturbing books. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma was unsettling and counter intuitive but not disturbing. There was a scene in Season 2 of Yesterday's Gone (think it was Season 2) that was one of the most disturbing things I've ever read in my entire life; I put my tablet down for a few minutes after reading it.

 

Other than that.... can't think of anything. I'll be watching this thread for suggestions though!

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I didn't find Notes on a Scandal that disturbing .. a bit unsettling but nothing more. I was disturbed by Cormac McCarthy's The Road .. but I liked it all the same  :blush2: 

Having just read East of Eden .. Cathy is one of the most disturbing characters I've ever read about  :hide: 

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Ok, I gave up on Naked Lunch and have a long history with that book, in fact, I can turn my head slightly to the left and it is one of maybe 100 books that remain in my house.  It belongs with the Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, Jack Kerouac section.  I love this section dearly and it shaped my early teens (I read a tad early lol), but I just couldn't hack it (and I had read some pretty heavy books on drugs and extreame lifestyles by that time).  It's not so much the subject matter (I don't think it is any worse than Trainspotting), but the way it is written is so hard to read.

 

I am determined to give American Psycho another go, especially since I saw the awesome movie (Christian Bale yum).

 

Read Oryx & Crake.  It should be on this list.  So should the whole damn trilogy.

 

What is the What? is on my TBR from June, she read it last year.

 

I have read 7 of Chuck Palahniuk's books, but never heard of Guts.

 

I'm like Noll, waiting for the posts to roll in with glee :)

 

Thanks for the thread!

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I've only read The Wasp Factory and Notes on a Scandal from the list.  I did manage to finish them ... I thought The Wasp Factory was excellent, but I found Notes on a Scandal very unsettling and uncomfortable to read and the only reason I finished it was because it was for my book group.

 

Funnily enough, in another thread this week I mentioned Under The Skin by Michel Faber, which I found disturbing and only managed about 100 pages as it made me squirm in my chair and couldn't read any more.

 

I know I'll go back to The Wasp Factory, for sure.  I think I just wasn't in the right frame of mind for it at the times I tried. 

Re Under the Skin.....I'm not surprised.  The articles and review I read on it were disturbing, I thought.  But of course I didn't like his other books at all.

 

 

The only thing I've read off that list is Guts by Chuck Palahnuik, and yeah, I remember that making me feel a bit queasy. Pretty sure I was in secondary school so that's a good ten years ago and it still makes me cringe. The Wasp Factory is on my TBR pile though.

 

I'm not sure that I've read any particularly disturbing books. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma was unsettling and counter intuitive but not disturbing. There was a scene in Season 2 of Yesterday's Gone (think it was Season 2) that was one of the most disturbing things I've ever read in my entire life; I put my tablet down for a few minutes after reading it.

 

Other than that.... can't think of anything. I'll be watching this thread for suggestions though!

 

I'm trying to think of others as well.  Have to check the lists.

 

 

I didn't find Notes on a Scandal that disturbing .. a bit unsettling but nothing more. I was disturbed by Cormac McCarthy's The Road .. but I liked it all the same  :blush2: 

Having just read East of Eden .. Cathy is one of the most disturbing characters I've ever read about  :hide: 

 

I wonder if part of the reason I found the film of Notes on a Scandal so bothering was the fact that I absolutely adore Dame Dench and couldn't stand to see her in that role.  That is entirely possible.  I was the same about Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lector.  Couldn't watch it.

 

Hah.  I have a hate/hate relationship with Steinbeck.  :D  I have started innumerable of his books, all put aside.  Except for East of Eden....I was asked to take over a discussion about 10 years ago of it.  So, I gritted my teeth and did finish.  By the hardest.  And yes!, Cathy certainly was despicable, to say the least. 

I don't know exactly what it is about Steinbeck's writing that so sets my teeth on edge.  So many readers I know absolutely love him, so I kept trying.  But no more, I've had it.

 

 

Ok, I gave up on Naked Lunch and have a long history with that book, in fact, I can turn my head slightly to the left and it is one of maybe 100 books that remain in my house.  It belongs with the Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, Jack Kerouac section.  I love this section dearly and it shaped my early teens (I read a tad early lol), but I just couldn't hack it (and I had read some pretty heavy books on drugs and extreame lifestyles by that time).  It's not so much the subject matter (I don't think it is any worse than Trainspotting), but the way it is written is so hard to read.

 

I am determined to give American Psycho another go, especially since I saw the awesome movie (Christian Bale yum).

 

Read Oryx & Crake.  It should be on this list.  So should the whole damn trilogy.

 

What is the What? is on my TBR from June, she read it last year.

 

I have read 7 of Chuck Palahniuk's books, but never heard of Guts.

 

I'm like Noll, waiting for the posts to roll in with glee :)

 

Thanks for the thread!

 

I've never even tried any of Palahniuk's books.  I don't think we even have any around here, unless husband had one that he transported down here. 

Edited by pontalba

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Hah.  I have a hate/hate relationship with Steinbeck.  :D

 

I've never even tried any of Palahniuk's books.  I don't think we even have any around here, unless husband had one that he transported down here. 

Went to your thread with this.  :)

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Re Under the Skin.....I'm not surprised.  The articles and review I read on it were disturbing, I thought.  But of course I didn't like his other books at all.

I've read most of his other books, and thought most were very good, but this was the one that stopped me in my tracks. His short story collection called The Fahrenheit Twins had one of two uncomfortable reads, but nothing like Under The Skin *shudder* 

 

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