The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq
This nihilistic, brutal novel follows the disintegration of two brothers into adulthood. One brother secludes himself in the work of molecular biology, and the other loses his job as a school teacher as he falls into the throes of sex addiction. Of course, these characters have mother issues, leading to their introverted and protracted livelihoods. When Houellebecq isn’t graphically describing sex with prostitutes or online sex chat rooms, he fills some space with 1960’s California satanic death cults, their orgies, torture, and child sacrifice. I assure you he spares no detail! Certain to shock!
Sexus by Henry Miller
The lascivious lothario, Henry Miller, begins his Rosy Crucifixion trilogy with this misogynistic, smutty masterpiece. When I think of the 1920’s and 30’s, I imagine a simpler time filled with picnics, jazz, a twenty percent unemployment rate and sex solely for procreation. Boy was I wrong! Chronicling the author’s “awakening” from the doldrums of existence, the novel follows Miller’s quest to become a writer by way of sexual conquests, philosophical musings and general penury. The book, basically a pornographic biography, is shocking even by today’s standards. Banned for several decades, Sexus remains a ribald read!
Holy smokes this book is messed up! Incidentally, Lou Reed claims it’s his favorite book. Composed of six separate parts, the book takes a bird’s eye view of 1950’s lower class Brooklyn. And what a view: transvestitism, prostitution, gang rape, hardcore drug use, and domestic violence are just a few of the upbeat topics Selby explores throughout the novel. Written with sporadic punctuation and King’s county colloquialisms, the book paints a vivid yet disturbing picture of the underbelly of society. If you want to take a look through the forbidden keyhole, buy this book and prepare to be changed.