Bands and wannabe porn stars have been using Myspace to promote themselves since the online networking site was created. Author Joseph Suglia, however, may be one of the first Myspace junkies to use the peer-to-peer marketing capabilities of the site to promote his latest book, Watch Out-a dark and twisted tale detailing the innermost thoughts of Jonathan Barrows, a man whose outrageous narcissism has him referring to the rest of humanity as “slag dead matter” and himself as “the absolute being.”
Suglia hit me up on Myspace to ask if I'd review his book. I appreciated his ballsy conceit-at one point he wrote to say his book “is the greatest accomplishment of my life: literally or otherwise”-almost as much as I came to appreciate the conceit of his central character.
Suglia introduces Barrows in one of the many arcane verses sprinkled throughout the book-I examine the contours of my mind without interruption. I ball myself up in the hollow of a womb. No one touches me anymore. The writing is gorgeous: pretentious but charismatic in its own right.
The reader is swept along as Barrows slithers through his world loathing all others and loving Himself (personal pronouns referring to Barrows are capitalized; he is, after all, a “steaming mound of sensuality” and the center of the universe). Much of Barrows' time is spent expressing this deep love of self-he screws his clone doll and masturbates incessantly. The sessions are grotesque.
Even more disturbing than the sex scenes are the psychotic murder fantasies (we hope they are only fantasies, though Suglia never attempts to explain). The torture and perversions imagined by Barrows put Patrick Bateman's fantasies in American Psycho to shame. Suffice it to say, cute fuzzy animals and dismemberment become a reoccurring theme.
Sex and murder aside, Watch Out will entertain you with its heartfelt-though x-rated-contemporary reincarnation of Anthem, Ayn Rand's novel about the reclamation of the word “I.” The book investigates individualism by exposing the creepy inner world of a narcissistic psycho, and in so doing, reveals some nasty truth-people are freaking nuts.
by Joseph Suglia
FLF Press (September 2006) -Kinsee Morlan