It’s possible that the cover gives too much away. Stark and pink, a single fork takes center stage, the tines delicate, carefully made… and laced with blood.
This is the paperback cover of David Cronenberg’s Consumed (Scribner) a book which upon its hardcover debut last year had been long-awaited… and that did not disappoint.
Consumed is filmmaker Cronenberg’s fiction debut. And, obviously, a novel from the imagination behind Crash, Scanners and A History of Violence (plus many, many more) was going to be paid attention to. And it was. In his New York Times review last year, Jonathan Lethem describe the book like this:
Nathan and Naomi, in Cronenberg’s first novel, “Consumed,” are a very contemporary couple. They’re media junkies who peddle the junk themselves, making a living as Internet journalists feeding their own and others’ rabid appetites for sexual scandals or true-crime confessions presented in intimate and lurid detail. Their frantic pursuits are framed by intellectual references to thinkers including Marx, Beckett and Sartre, and mediated through the very freshest electronic sensors, camera lenses and computer apps.
Nevertheless, and as one would expect, such investigations plunge them into timeless and primal matters of sex, death and mortal illness. Specifically, the book presents a locked-room mystery of sorts: Can it be possible that a woman said to be dying of cancer, and whose philosopher-cannibal-husband left a record of her dismemberment, is still alive? Or was she a consensual accomplice to her own murder?
It should go without saying that a book from the king of venereal horror will not be everyone’s cuppa. But for those who enjoy (demand!) their fiction with at least a cup of dark madness, Consumed is for you. As Booklist said, “Cronenberg is a gangbusters novelist. His dense, aristocratic prose is saturated with details of technology, sex, and disease … and every salacious bit is elevated to a thing of perverse beauty.” The New Repbulic said it even better. They suggested that Cosumed was so good, he should “give up his day job.” ◊