cover image Me and the Devil

Me and the Devil

Nick Tosches. Little, Brown, $26.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-12097-5

In this novel of sadomasochistic vampirism, an aging writer drinks blood to restore youth, vitality, and the urge to write. Nick is a misanthrope who sees people as “a source of tedium and acid reflux.” With young women, he enjoys rough sex, the kind that draws blood (his pickups like to be raped, bitten, and whipped). But there are no black capes or bats; instead, drinking blood is the transgressive act of an intellectual, an incarnadine feast over dull conversations about, among other things, the efficiency of the Greek language or the precision of Latin when it comes to oral sex. Nick also converses with the devil, about haberdashery and The Music Man. Occasionally, Tosches (In the Hand of Dante) uses the narrator as a mouthpiece to decry the “monopoly of bookstores” (a subject he’s covered before), “island-nigger nannies... pushing white yuppie brats in three-grand prams and strollers,” and other topics. The book is composed of turgid prose, pornographic sex, misogyny, and slurs, images, and scenes impartial in their offensiveness, such as a woman falling in love with her rapist. A novel for the most devoted fans of “transgressive” fiction and the most outré vampire erotica. (Dec. 4)