- 2015 INDIES Finalist
- Finalist, Erotica (Adult Fiction)
A mentally ill man wrestles with his fetishes and inner demons in a novel that goes to extremes.
Jonathan Harnisch’s Lover in the Nobody is a cross between intense sadomasochistic erotica and a psychological memoir, complete with graphic torture scenes and a compendium of characters that may or may not inhabit the head of the protagonist. Not for the faint of heart, this is a take on sexual fulfillment and schizophrenia.
Georgie Gust has Tourette’s syndrome and dissociative identity disorder, and is in the process of checking himself out of the mental health facility to which he self-committed. The depths of his depravity and the nature of his mental illness are explored through interactions with the three main people in his life—his chauffeur, his friend, and his lover. The line between reality and Georgie’s fantasies is often unclear.
Georgie is a fascinating character with a varied and somewhat disturbing inner life. Erotic fetishism and violent fantasies give an odd structure to his random thoughts; the more he focuses on any particular fantasy, the clearer and less random his thinking becomes.
When Georgie is with his therapist, his thoughts bounce between people he knows, and then he concludes, “They’re nothing in my world, Dr. C. In my world, they don’t even exist. That’s the beauty of it, you see.” Then, a few random thoughts later, his focus hones in on Dr. C’s breasts and feet, and his thinking becomes more sequential and orderly as he relates his fantasy: “She wants me, wants to seduce me. Tempting me like that. With her tits. Her feet.”
The frenzy and disorder in Georgie’s brain are well represented in Harnisch’s writing style. Because the point of view shifts from Georgie to the chauffeur to a somewhat omniscient third-person narrator, with font changes marking interjections, it is sometimes difficult to grab on to what is real. Wobbly perspectives seem to emphasize the mentally unbalanced nature of Georgie’s life and sexual fantasies.
The unpredictability and violence of his fantasies also clearly illustrates his continual internal struggles. Sadomasochistic scenes are detailed to the extreme. “I wish I could have the courage to abandon myself from all of my obsessions,” writes Georgie in his diary, very aptly summing up the totality of his experiences.
Those who appreciate descriptive fetishistic erotica or have an interest in the motivations of the mentally ill stand to appreciate Georgie’s experiences, whether real or imagined.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.