brothercyst: It was Hogg by Samuel Delany until I threw it in the garbage

Monday, June 26, 2006

It was Hogg by Samuel Delany until I threw it in the garbage

That's my answer to this question.


I'd been meaning to read it for a while and finally opened it last night and read the whole thing in three hours, then threw it down the trash chute. Not because I hated it - I didn't - but because I didn't like it enough to ever read it again, and I wouldn't want anyone who came to my room to randomly pick it up and start leafing through it.

Some guy said if I liked American Psycho I would like Hogg, but that guy had no idea what he was talking about.

I like the writing in American Psycho, not the violence. Hogg was mostly just fucking boring. At first it seemed to be serving up an interesting idea - that a lot of actions in the world result in suffering for someone, but indirectly (so you don't think about the agony of some African kid who the drug companies are testing your pharms on, for example), and if you had to look at serious suffering, well...I dunno, you'd be sick.

At first it seemed like Hogg and his crew of rapists-for-hire were intended to be the personification of that disconnect, the violence that travels from an unwitting actor to an unsuspecting subject. But then Delany just gives up on ideas and from then on, it's endless rape scenes, straight and gay, and a murder spree, etc.

Which didn't really do anything for me.

It made me think of
The Devil's Rejects, which is also about a "family" of criminals on a depraved rampage. But I really liked that movie. And not Hogg. So much is craft. It's problematic to compare a film to a book, of course, but one of these two has a sort of bizarre, irresistible energy, and the other is a dull thing, inert and tediously repugnant.

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