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Consumed

3.13  ·  Rating details ·  2,749 ratings  ·  472 reviews
The exhilarating debut novel by iconic filmmaker David Cronenberg: the story of two journalists whose entanglement in a French philosopher’s death becomes a surreal journey into global conspiracy.

Stylish and camera-obsessed, Naomi and Nathan thrive on the yellow journalism of the social-media age. They are lovers and competitors—nomadic freelancers in pursuit of sensation
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Hardcover, 308 pages
Published September 30th 2014 by Scribner
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Average rating 3.13  · 
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 ·  2,749 ratings  ·  472 reviews


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Jeffrey Keeten
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
”Speaking the words seemed to release them into a void in which they could evaporate unexpectedly; writing them seemed to encase them safely within our skulls, where they could leisurely ripen.”

Aristide and Celestine Arosteguy are celebrated French philosophers as famous for their sexual escapades as for their contributions to a fundamental better understanding of life. They are no longer in their prime, but their attraction for each other is still sustaining, in fact, it is evolving.

”I at firs
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Janie C.
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a multidimensional rollercoaster ride into a hallway of warped mirrors. Nothing is as it seems. We begin with a sensationalistic news story and two overly eager journalists who would sell theirs souls for a good angle. The narrative continues by splitting up into surreal and bizarre directions which defy rationality and linearity.  Paranoia, conspiracy theories, treachery and madness lead us further into the funhouse. Human grotesqueries and detailed sexual scenes are described with ...more
Joe Valdez
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery-suspense
Consumed is the debut novel by filmmaker David Cronenberg, whose body of work includes such landmark films as Scanners, Videodrome, The Dead Zone, The Fly, A History of Violence and Eastern Promises. This novel, published in 2014, might satisfy fans of the Canadian director, those who thrill at bizarre, often gruesome studies of mutation and the fusion of biology with technology. I found it as sterile and nauseating as watching a surgery and seeing more than I wanted to. It's less of a novel tha ...more
Edward Lorn
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you get your book recommendations from me, I would like for you to read the next four paragraphs. If you're here for the review, scroll down until you see REVIEW STARTS HERE. Thanks.

Friends who joke about me steering them wrong are not the topic of conversation today.

We all have our breaking points. Mine came yesterday in the form of 12 negative comments and three reviews written by friends, or at least those I am well enough acquainted with here on Goodreads to call friends. Only one person
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Maciek
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
David Cronenberg is a film director who needs no introduction, and Consumed is his first novel. It's a difficult book to write about - Consumed is an esoteric, cinematic thriller, full of references to and observations about many different topics, its setting switching constantly between the countries and continents of the world.

It's hard to not see Consumed as a book written by a film director; the novel is very cinematic in scope, sweeping across great cities of the world as it follows two jou
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Alex (The Bookubus)
4.5 stars

I had put off reading this one because it doesn’t generally have good ratings and as a huge Cronenberg fan I was nervous that I would be disappointed. I shouldn’t have taken any notice of the ratings because this is one of my favourite books I’ve read this year. I really hope he writes more novels. Next time I won’t wait to pick it up.
switterbug (Betsey)
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
“Could he really say anything about classical concepts of art, and therefore beauty, being based on harmony, as opposed to modern theories, post-industrial-revolution, post-psychoanalysis, based on sickness and dysfunction?”

The master of body horror, David Cronenberg, has written an esoteric debut novel that proves that the director is confident with a narrative story beyond dialogue and images. He allows the reader to form the visuals themselves that he graphically describes in print. Cronenber
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Jonfaith
Dec 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
I remember reading about Calvin Klein’s daughter. Every time she pulled down a lover’s pants, she was confronted by her father’s name on the band of his underwear. A total sex killer.

I should've known better. It was about this time last year that I stumbled into Night Film. There is something about the holidays which suggests or portends a post-modern rendering of the Uncanny. If my wife hadn't been sleeping, I would've screamed upon completing this. If I had been stupid enough to buy it, I woul
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Bryan Alexander
Sep 13, 2014 rated it really liked it

"Let me unbox you..."
-Aristide Arosteguy


This is a novel best suited to two audiences: those looking for innovative horror, and people interested in visionary possibilities of new media. It would also be good for fans of first-time novelist David Cronenberg's work in film, but I suspect they'd fall into the first two categories.

(I fall into all three, being a lifelong Cronenberg fan since I first saw the mad genius of Videodrome.)

Consumed is, as one might expect from the author, a chall
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Dimitris Passas (TapTheLine)
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is an intense, bizarre reading experience which amazes and enthralls the reader from the beginning till the end. Get ready to dive into the depraved and grotesque world, created by the notorious film director, David Cronenberg who makes his debut in literature and he certainly doesn't disappoint his loyal cinema audience. The main theme of the novel is Cronenberg's obsession with the relationship between humans and technology, the possibility of mechanical prosthetics to radically tran ...more
Sarah
Oct 14, 2014 rated it did not like it
I have no idea why I read this entire thing. Maybe I just hate myself. Maybe because I somehow doubted it could end as badly as it began, and it wound up being worse. The writing style is dispassionately in-your-face, a sort of emphatic blandness. I get that the style is meant to be a clinical portrayal of "horror" and "philosophy," but the ham-handed use of brutally cold language serves only to emphasize the far too obvious message of the book. The graphic body horror and frightening sexuality ...more
Goran Skrobonja
Apr 30, 2015 rated it liked it
It would have been five stars if not for the ending. Now I don't mind an open ending that leaves you hanging and musing about all the potential outcomes, but THIS ending seems deliberately abrupt and unkind to a reader who'd avidly turned the pages, consumed (yes - pun intended) by the sordid, bizarre and sexy Cronenberg's world, just to close the back cover with his or hers mouth hanging. A friend of mine said this book required maybe a hundred pages more. I don't know whether it's a hundred, o ...more
Gerhard
The ongoing controversy about The Interview reminded me of the running gag in David Cronenberg’s first novel about ‘Kimunism’ and the The Judicious Use of Insects. This fictitious movie causes controversy and upheaval at Cannes, as it is supported by France’s most intellectually daring philosopher couple, who are sympathetic towards the North Korean dictatorship (Cronenberg mentions the scandal of Gerard Depardieu renouncing his French citizenship and being personally awarded a Russian passport ...more
Philippe Malzieu
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It begins as a thriller. Murder in Paris, a libertin couple of philosopher, a kind of bisexual Sartre-Beauvoir trash. The woman was murdered and partially eaten. The husband Arosteguy is suspected. Naomi, photojournalist investigates. His lover, Nathan, photojournalist also, is interested to an Hungarian crazy surgeon.
A novel of Cronenberg. Interrogation: is it a scenario for a failed project? No, it is a real novel. Two remarks in introduction. At first, Cronenberg is a real writer, he has styl
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Leo Robertson
Mar 26, 2017 rated it liked it
The superficial maximalism of DeLillo and Ballard dissolves into cold, Easton Ellisian self-indulgence—knowingly. That's an oft-debated topic in storytelling: need a thematically dark story be dark itself? Must the literature of alienation alienate? Well, this one does. But that's okay; I'm still glad I read it.

I don't know why I don't mind knowing that Cronenberg not only wants to fuck cars but also iPads. And make no mistake: he does. Like, Quentin Tarantino might have thought that there isn't
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Nicholas Kaufmann
Sep 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fans of Cronenberg's films will find many of his signature traits on display in his debut novel: a fetishistic obsession with technology (every electronic device mentioned in the novel is given its full model name and a rundown of its capabilities), a fascination with insects, a coldly dispassionate demeanor, and plenty of psychosexual kink. Unfortunately, where a dispassionate demeanor can set the tone of a film perfectly, it doesn't work as well in a novel, making it very difficult to engage w ...more
James
Dec 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"Consumed," David Cronenberg's debut novel, is probably my favorite novel published this year. In a way it reads a lot like the work of J.G. Ballard, both in a thematic sense (the sterile, almost clinical relationships between the main characters, the fixation on STDs, the insectile body horror, the perverted/psychotic doctors, and a fascination at the intersection of where technology and the human body meet: indeed, the book has an almost fetish-like obsession with modern technology and social ...more
Jamii
Jun 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
So let me start by saying I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. Okay so I know this book was going to be an interesting read when I entered the giveaway. The little summary blurb makes it clear the contents will be somewhat odd. So when I started reading it I though I knew what I was getting myself into. Wrong. It was way more twisted and weird than I could have imagined. It was a great read, there's some parts that I know I didn't catch and should probably give a reread t ...more
Sheila
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
4 stars--I really liked it.

This book has a lot of body horror, so if you're at all squeamish, avoid! (Seriously. I love horror and I was squirming.) It's about philosophy and technology and aging and some very awful characters doing some very awful things. I really enjoyed how the plot tied together at the end, though, and also loved the complete excess of the story.

There's a slight tone of "a pervy old man wrote this book." (I guess to be expected?) I had insomnia while reading, so stayed up l
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Bandit
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
Cronenberg as a film director is known for his unconventional approach, which (with minor commercial films) tends to express itself in an all around WTF bizarreness. As a writer, he's done the same. This is all of course a very much acquired taste sort of thing. Personally I believe a film or a book's overall impression shouldn't be primarily WEIRD. Cronenberg does weird, different variations, always original, unquestionably interesting works that seem to be primarily designed to mess with the a ...more
Paul
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars but a very biased opinion. I loved every Cronenberg movie I've seen as such sublime mindfucks. This novel reads like one of his films, but as a bonus Cronenberg wrote prose and a novel is a much more reader friendly format than a script IMO. This is a character study under the surreal lens of cronenberg's imagination. ...more
Bracken
Oct 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
LONG LIVE THE NEW INTIMACY!

This book reads like a greatest hits of Cronenberg's thematic kinks. Cold and detached yet compulsive sexuality, venereal disease as interpersonal bond, body modification/nullification, technology as biological imperative, conspiracy, and eroticized death. While it reads like an amalgam of my favorite parts of his various movies, overall it really feels like a spiritual sequel to Videodrome and his adaptation of Ballard's Crash. Consumed posits a kind of new emotional
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Frazer Lee
Jan 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read CONSUMED twice, first on Kindle for awards jury purposes, then in print, which seems apt given the subject matter - digital and analogue, technology and self. Cronenberg wilfully flounts narrative conventions - sudden shifts in character POV, third to first person - and it's a joy to see him pushing boundaries on the page as much as he does on screen. All the obsessions are there, delivered with wry humour and disturbing emotional intensity from one chapter to the next. In many ways this ...more
Jordan West
May 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars actually; the ending felt abruptly truncated, as others have pointed out, and fleshing out the conclusion with another 20 pages could have really helped to push the entire book to the heights reached by the delicious final paragraph.
Ryan I
Sep 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
christa
Oct 29, 2014 rated it liked it
In one corner, we have a tech obsessed, globetrotting freelance reporter who likes the big splashy headline stories like the one she’s currently chasing about a high-falooting couple, French fetish-wrecked philosophers at the center of a gruesome crime: Did Aristide Arosteguy kill and then eat his wife Celestine?

In the other corner is Naomi’s mostly long distance boyfriend Nathan, equally tech obsessed -- though not so snobby when it comes to the iPhone -- and globetrotting. He’s also a freelan
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Bruna
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
Consumed is the debut novel by director David Cronenberg. Once crowned King of Venereal Horror, Cronenberg seems to return to the roots of his early film career with this novel. This is not the current Cronenberg who has directed The Map to The Stars, but the Cronenberg of The Fly, Videodrome, eXistenZ and Scanners. The novel is not only about being consumed in the most literal sense, but also about being consumers. With gadgets being an object of fetish and obsession; iPhones being part of sex ...more
Sean Flanagan
Oct 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
I found this to be, despite its common labeling as a thriller, almost in fact an anti-thriller - it's a novel that exists to dispute the thriller genre, by detailing a conspiracy too vast and sinister for the kind of comprehension and foiling we're used to in these sorts of stories. It's a novel about Marxism and sex, primarily, and this strange combination is played with and toyed with by Cronenberg, who delights in teasing erotic sexual situations and then ruining them with awkward fetishes an ...more
Gabriel
Jun 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Cronenberg (unsurprisingly) creates a believable alternate reality where journalists and philosophers are still stars and fully incorporate modern technology. It took me a bit of time to get into the book, but, once I did, I couldn't put it down. While I understand what C. was trying to do with his ambiguous ending; I still wish that more threads had been resolved. This almsot feels like the beginning of a series, but, knowing C.'s usual open-narrative approach, I doubt that's the case. I wonder ...more
Syuhada
Nov 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Weirdest book i have read so far this year. This book is about a couple of photojournalist that focuses their topics on weird things (read: cannibalism, amputation, weird diseases). Along the story you can also find the complex story of fascination of insect and also some weird fetishes of the characters. But.. I thought the ending was kinda not fulfilling.. abruptly ended.
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David Paul Cronenberg is a Canadian film director and occasional actor.

He is one of the principal originators of what is commonly known as the body horror or venereal horror genre. This style of filmmaking explores people's fears of bodily transformation and infection. In his films, the psychological is typically intertwined with the physical.

In the first half of his career, Cronenberg explored th
...more

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