A dark love story of obsessive fixation, perceptual disorientation, insomnia, and psychic seizures--with madness waiting in the wings.
“Do you dare to fall in love?” asks the narrator of Self-Murder, and then answers by detailing an instance of attraction to a “breath-stealing” beauty which swiftly becomes an obsessive fixation, such that all else melts from his awareness, his sanity is stretched to its limits, and madness threatens to engulf him. Shifting emotional extremes, sensual excess, and prolonged sleep deprivation: all combine to erode the narrator’s tenuous hold on rationality and propel him into a somnambulistic waking state where the distinction between what’s real and imagined blurs, and he’s no longer able to be certain of how he’s behaving; without being aware of it, he may have committed murder.
Self-Murder depicts a hallucinatory landscape of the mind and emotions, as terrifying as it is surprisingly and astoundingly beautiful, while probing the elusiveness of memory and difficulty of accurately apprehending our inner state of affairs--or of understanding the underlying motives of our actions.
“No sleep, no rest for the mind just makes the descent all the more quick. Self-Murder is the tale of a man who falls deeper and deeper into a haze of confusion, as his insomnia deprives him of sleep and he finds his only comfort in the excesses of life. As he pursues love, the strength of that emotion only spins his life out even more, and as he loses control of reality, he may do things he regrets. Self-Murder is a fascinating and excellent psychological thriller readers won't be able to put down.”--Midwest Book Review
“A phantasmagoria of unbridled lust, sexual obsession, and stealth madness, Robert Scott Leyse’s Self-Murder is a dazzling indictment of desire that brims with sensory imagery and moments of exquisite verbal beauty delivered by a narrative voice that is baroque but disturbing and more than a little reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe.”--Gary Earl Ross, author of Blackbird Rising: A Novel of the American Spirit
“Robert Scott Leyse channels Baudelaire's Queen of Spades and Jack of Hearts, speaking darkly of dead loves, in this new book. He also reminds me of James Purdy's notorious eccentricity. There's plenty of middlebrow stuff if you want it. Self-Murder isn't that.”--Kris Saknussemm, author of Private Midnight
“After his first novel, Liaisons For Laughs, which took Sex and the City to new heights and depths, Robert Scott Leyse's second one, Self-Murder, explores broader, deeper, and darker territories. Leyse achieves a striking stylistic gallimaufry: Proustian memories underpinning thoughts, words, and deeds; obsession treated in a way which evokes Lolita without those irritating Nabokovian curlicues; romps that Henry Miller would have enjoyed; a finale that delivers a blow to the solar plexus.”--Barry Baldwin, Emeritus Professor of Classics, U. of Calgary, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
“Self-Murder is lush sensuality of language injected with menace. A vivid portrait of mental disintegration and an explosive picture-show. Hallucinations without substance-abuse. Overwrought nerves and insomnia are Self-Murder’s drugs of choice.”--George Fosty, ESPN featured author of Black Ice
“Here is a psychological struggle and sensual breakout where you best get a comfortable seat, grab the joy stick, and hang on. This is a delicious look at the mystery of self-psychoanalysis, sensual release, acceptance of gifts of the tallest order, or the lowest.”--Tom Sheehan, author of Epic Cures
Robert Scott Leyse was born in San Francisco, grew up in various locales about America, lived in Paris for a spell, and now resides on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Upon arrival in Manhattan he lived in several East Village dumps and worked as a New York cab driver on the night shift, with the aim of atoning for a sheltered upbringing and having adventures the likes of which he'd never had before and he wasn't disappointed; subsequently he acquired over a dozen years of experience in the legal field, where he was pleasantly surprised to find that additional adventures, of the office politics and shenanigans variety, were to be had; presently he works in the advertising field, where he's not looking for any special adventures, having decided to separate work from fun and games and have secrets that are easier to keep. He skis in Sun Valley, Idaho, surfs with board and body in southern California and Puerto Rico, once took a belly dance class in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and the most incandescent yoga class he’s ever had was on a stand-up paddle board in Condado Lagoon during a furious rainstorm. He eats fish heads and insects and drinks blood, but can’t be paid to eat potato chips or cake.
He is a co-founder and the editor of the erotic literary fiction and poetry webzine, Sliptongue (launched May Day, 2001), and the founder and editor of the ShatterColors Literary Review (launched May Day, 2006). His three novels are Liaisons for Laughs: Angie & Ella’s Summer of Delirium (July, 2009), Self-Murder (April, 2010), and Attraction and Repulsion (June, 2011). His two novellas are Penelope Prim and Tallulah Tempest (both February, 2015). The latter was originally intended to be a send-up of volatile relationships but turned out to be an appreciation and celebration of them instead: sometimes a tale decides where it wishes to go, the author be damned. Forthcoming is a collection of short stories.read more
Reviews for Self-Murder
Self-Murder was just one of those books that I assumed I was going enjoy. It's all about a character's descent into madness. The psychology major in me loves that kind of crap. Yet, no matter how much I tried (and trust me, I tried extremely hard because this was a first-reads win), I could just not get into it. Sure I finished it, but I was grumbling all the way through it. My main gripe with Self-Murder was that I just found it utterly boring. I really can't recover from a book that I just find drool-inducing. It doesn't work that way for me. I found myself just skimming through most pages and thinking "Just get through this part, this is bound to get interesting soon". But no such luck. Again I state that a book about someone's descent into crazy-land should've been much more intriguing. Sure, there were a couple of parts that had me turning the pages at a frequent pace, but for the most part it was just meh. I also should mention that I have an intense hate of excessive exclamation points. It's just one of my pet peeves. It makes me feel as though the writer wants to show the reader exactly what they should be shocked or excited about instead of just experiencing that on their own. While this certainly wasn't the worse case of excessive exclamation points I've ever seen, it sure was up there. Anyway, I have to say that I can't really recommend this book because I just couldn't connect with it at all. I don't know if the reader isn't supposed to connect with it or not, but regardless of that I just couldn't. And I feel so bad about that because I really (really and truly) wanted to love this book and not only because it's a First Reads win but because the premise really did sound right up my alley. But alas, it just was not meant to be.read more
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