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The most disturbing work of fiction that you have ever read


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On 06/07/2018 at 6:47 PM, Echo said:

The book that disturbed me the most, and affected me more than any other, was And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts. However, it's non-fiction....it's an account of how the AIDS epidemic spread across America and how the government did nothing to stop it because it didn't care about the people who were dying. The descriptions of the deaths and the truth that is revealed (basically the homicidal indifference of the American government) has stayed with me since I first read it 20 years ago.


That book broke my heart. Have you ever seen the documentary, We Were Here? It's captivating but so upsetting. I'd also recommend The Normal Heart (the book AND the film) and Longtime Companion (film). And the book Borrowed Time: An Aids Memoir by Paul Monette. I was 13 in the mid 80s and I remember the school calling special assemblies to talk to us all about HIV/Aids, and to warn us of how to protect ourselves. we were probably the first generation to know about it in time to protect ourselves and in the early 90s a friend of mine who was a bit older was diagnosed as HIV positive. It's something that has always stuck with me, hence my wanting to learn more about it.

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On 12/04/2015 at 6:00 PM, frankie said:

I've only read American Psycho and The Wasp Factory from the list. AP was disturbing, yes, but it also being a long and boring read took away from all the horridness a bit :giggle2: TWF was more weird than disturbing, I think. 


The most disturbing book I've read would be Poppy Z. Brite's Exquisite Corpse. I don't remember much about it, but disturbing it was. 


@frankie, I finished reading Exquisite Corpse recently. I think you bought this one while in Australia and left it behind for me to read, right? Thank you so much for that. Not! It was horrid! *shudder* I had to skim the nastiest passages.


I have to say, it hasn't made me too interested in reading American Psycho:hide:

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On 11/17/2018 at 7:23 PM, Ruth said:

I think I'd say American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis.


I didn't like American Psycho a great deal because I felt like Bret Easton Ellis was being offensive just to show how nasty he could be.

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Although it wasn't a disturbing book on the whole, there was one incident in Apples by Richard Milward that I found absolutely chilling, in that no reference was made to it afterwards whatsoever, even though it was an unimaginably horrible thing to consider happening in real life. My only thought is that the author is quite young and so probably was trying to write to shock for the sake of it, or just thought it was funny. Has anyone read it and do they know which bit I'm talking about? (Don't want to give spoilers)

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I've read a few books that stay with me years after I've finished them. Shogun by James Clavell terrified me as a boy, particularly the part where one of the crew is boiled to death in a big pot! I think it was the first time I'd read anything so graphic. It's  probably not that bad nowadays with some of the other things I've read, but it still sticks in my mind.


I read and disliked American Psycho, but that was more to do with me thinking it was a terribly over-hyped book. It seems to want to shock, and rather than do it with flair it seemed to me to be solely exploitative. I found it to be a dreadful book.


Another that disturbed me and stayed with me was White Bones by Graham Masterton. I found it to be overly graphic and exploitative which added nothing to the story (which was quite good) and merely there to shock. I found out after reading it that the author has also written horror and edited pornographic magazines. Well that explains it then!

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