cover image Consumed


David Cronenberg. Scribner, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4165-9613-4

In the debut novel from the director of The Fly and The Dead Zone, lovers Naomi Seberg and Nathan Math fancy themselves journalists. They are social-media addicts obsessed with the minutia of technology and vapid sensation. Naomi becomes obsessed with the murder and subsequent consumption of French intellectual Célestine Arosteguy by her dapper husband, Aristide. Questing after the truth, Naomi pursues Aristide to Japan, and they become romantically entangled. In France, intermittently faithful Nathan falls for a doomed cancer patient. While the lovers are disconnected by geography, they are more intimately connected than either can suspect. Cronenberg may be best known for his films, but this cool, unsympathetic examination of self-absorbed intellectuals shows that his skills as a prose author are not to be discounted. Neither Naomi nor Nathan is in any way endearing, but their descent into bizarre depravity is fascinating, even darkly humorous. The convolutions of the plot are as uninhibited by plausibility as the characters are by common decency, but readers will find it impossible to look away from the grotesque spectacle. Agent: Andrew Wylie, Wylie Agency. (Sept.)