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.