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The Consumer [Paperback]

Michael Gira , M. Gira
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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This weird-press offering is both deliriously repulsive and very well-crafted. It's a collection of short pieces -- sort of like stories, but more like wild fantasies -- that take surrealistic organ distortions, drug-infused hallucinatory sexual nightmares and grotesque organic urban-machinery delusions, to whole new levels of "Whoa! Can't believe I'm actually eating lunch while reading this." Reminiscent of J. G. Ballard in his Crash/Atrocity Exhibition phase, or else J. K. Huysmans on an ether binge in Los Angeles.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Giras troubled mind leaks onto paper... Nov. 10 2003
This disturbing collections of short stories, musings, and seemingly random thoughts actually hovers somewhere between 3 and 4 stars, but I give Mr. Gira the benefit of the doubt. The purity of the ugliness written almost poetically on these pages becomes almost beautiful in its sick, twisted, dark, painful, pain-filled, drug-induced dislocation of mind and self.
In other words, Michael Gira is one sick little puppy. There is harmony in his savage portrayals of empty submission to torture and honestly in his slipping away of self. Brutal self loathing and a vicious need of self-punishment dominate these unpleasant tales and musings, with the sharpened sting of drug enhanced delusions of mind and body slipping away into nothingness.
Only from the mind of a tortured, clinically depressed soul could tales such as these sprout; ugly and black with poisonous fangs, sickly perverse and bitterly cruel. This collection is not for the squeamish or light hearted, or even for those looking for the bloodbath type of horror musings; however it does contain more searching of the true illness of mind and body than the merely tediously disgusting works of Poppy Z. Brite or Cara Bruce.
Michael Gira was also the singer/songwriter for the band The Swans, a dark and moody goth/industrial type band from the 80s and has done a few Cds on his own. This stories are as tortured and depressing as his music.
My major complaint was after reading about three quarters of the way through the stories, they kind of began to blend into each other. Though the descriptions were almost poetic in their brutality, they became repetitive after awhile, different wordings of the same internal and external tortures.
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5.0 out of 5 stars . Jan. 28 2000
By A Customer
As literature overall, this book is not really worth more than2 stars. But I give it 5 because it is immensely impacting and willremain with you forever once you've read it. I've never seen anythingelse quite like it. The cold, unrelenting, calculated villiany of these stories is amazing, and you will be consistently receiving powerful details that you did not want and never would've expected to get. Gira's music (the now disbanded Swans) is dark but not usually downright grotesque -- in his fiction, he seems dedicated to pulling up the most abominable arrangement of imagery and content that anyone could hope to imagine. He succeeds in his goal admirably.
As writing, this really is ridiculously wordy and articulate, much like Nick Cave's work. It is fancy prose for the sake of being fancy and intelligent-seeming. Some stories are toss outs and few of them have any particular point, other than to disturb you. But they *do* disturb you, to the core, and that is what is remarkable about them. It's hard to be genuinely horrifying, and it's tricky to write stories that make you physically nauseous. Gira's success in doing these things causes me to admire this book. It is vivid, important, and unforgettable. Too showy and one-track to be taken especially seriously as a work of literature, but too impacting and original to be ignored. A freak of a book, which is undoubtedly what Gira wants and expects it to be, which evokes a twisted, horrifying, and taboo world. The most perverse literature I've ever seen, and that includes De Sade.
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5.0 out of 5 stars lush,organic,deeply unsettling modern fary tales Feb. 16 2000
The consumer, like most of M gira's work is duplicitly lush, beautifull,serene and yet horrific on a quantum metaphysical level. I found this to be THE most repulsive,disturbing, writing I have ever come across and yet,I found myself drawn into the irresistable deep beaty that evocates out of the pages. The author has a spoken word CD called "the somniloquist" wich I also reccomend. It gave me some of the most unusual nightmares I can remember.Gira's unique writing style is hallucinogenic and sedative, yet seething with the power that can be found in his seminal, equally genius band "SWANS" and "the angels of light" (check them both out) @ swanspair.com Order this book if not simply for the fact that there is NOTHING really similar. even if you dont "like" it you will not be uneffected.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Agony, ecstasy... everything, really... Dec 9 1998
By A Customer
Mike Gira has been raping the minds of millions for years now as the instigator/lead terrorist for the bloodthirsty underground band Swans. Pick up FILTH or GREED and feel the skin peel off in sheets. Then pick up THE CONSUMER, which does the same thing in words. Absolutely no corner of the mind, no matter how remote or horrible, is left untouched, and that's the main reason for its beauty. It's better than real: it's hyper-real; it forces you to come back to your world with newly-opened eyes. If you're squeamish or easily offended, put this down and walk away -- you'll be diving into a bottomless tub of hell. Trust me. Really.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The All-Consuming Nov. 23 1998
By A Customer
This is one of the most spirtitually decimating, emotionally deprived pieces of work that I have ever had the (pleasure?) to read. It is an arduous journey through the depths of dillusion, betrayal, sexual manipulation, and hatred, all masterfully depicted by ex-Swan Michael Gira. His style of writing will wrench you out of your life and into his as he plummets toward some unseen all-consuming finale. In the end, you won't want to cry, scream, or breathe a sigh of relief. You will want to go to sleep, wake up the next day, and try to forget the imagery that was smashed into your head with the force of a supernova.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Meat
I find this book really interesting. I don't think that it is a work of perversion. It is just written from a certain perspective. It is a really dark vision. Read more
Published on April 21 2004 by alexander laurence
2.0 out of 5 stars Not thrilling
I was very disappointed in this book. Most of the reviews said it was sick and twisted, which I happen to like, but it was boring. Very wordy. Read more
Published on Oct. 10 2002 by Adele Pobega
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for reader reaction
I have to give the consumer 5 stars just for the reaction it drew from me. This book is twisted and sick - both resons why I was intrigued to read it in the first place. Read more
Published on Dec 11 2001 by Stephen Kozle
3.0 out of 5 stars Way Out In Left Field
If you are into raping children, animal cruelty, incest and deriving sexual pleasure from gross imagery then this is your book. I, myself, am not into that sort of thing. Read more
Published on Nov. 16 2001 by "helenagraves"
3.0 out of 5 stars More Disgusting than Horror
If you are into raping children, animal cruelty, incest and sexual satisfaction from disgusting imagery, then this is the book for you. Read more
Published on Nov. 16 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars the best
At first Gira's similes seem strained but then become utterly captivating. They hit you with force. He has a completely new vision of the urban landscape - he makes us see things... Read more
Published on Aug. 15 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars Cold, clinical, beautiful and horrifying...
The Consumer is not for everyone. I feel that it's a beautiful work and a very pure vision . . . full of horrifying, clinically written and presented "fairy tales" of... Read more
Published on Jan. 28 2001 by Jeffrey S. Mcleod
3.0 out of 5 stars Vivid? Yes!.... but still, not great.
Gira has a talent that might almost be called a gift for coming up with fascinating, vivid, and almost inevitably macabre scenarios for his short stories. Read more
Published on June 25 2000 by Carrie Laben
5.0 out of 5 stars Original and stylish
This is one of the most refreshing books I have read in recent months. The writing is very explorative. The imagery is intricate, gruesome, organic, scatalogical. M. Read more
Published on May 1 2000 by TheIrrationalMan
1.0 out of 5 stars for those who love gore
It is difficult to review this book without using the four letter word. Well, be prepared to encounter all kinds of bodily secretions then (yes, all you can think off) with some... Read more
Published on Dec 8 1999 by Werner Kattinger
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