After discussing THE VIOLATORS with Vincenzo Bilof and Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing editor Max Booth III, I was almost afraid to read it. The book came with repeated warnings that essentially boiled down to “this is a twisted motherfucker,” and I couldn’t agree more. But it’s also a brilliant motherfucker so–at the risk of destroying my reputation–I’m not only going to review it, I’m going to recommend it to you.
This is a hard book to write about. It’s such a wildly intelligent story that it’s hard to figure what, if anything, I can or even should say about it. In some ways, it’s a hard book to read and if you are faint of heart or weak of stomach I suggest you look elsewhere for entertainment. That said, if you’re the type of thick skinned reader that I am and you like a dark, different, and intelligent read, this might be for you.
THE VIOLATORS is about violence. Violence is the point of the book, at least in the form of demonstrative tool, and if you go into it with that in mind, you’ll be fine and you’ll probably get it. It’s about a group of sociopathic literature students probing the depths of human depravity; committing acts of brutality, murder, extreme sexual deviance, and humiliation for the sake of expanding their creative horizons, pushing the boundaries of creative inspiration through the use of uninhibited debauchery. Bilof seems to be intimating in some places that, while literature is, or should be, truly without boundaries, there are some themes or “techniques” that are overused, abhorrent, and ultimately unnecessary.
“Jefferson would not be disturbed. His left hand rubbed his stomach beneath his shirt and he wanted to slide it down into his pants; Mathilde’s face reconstructed would make a beautiful Mona Lisa montage, variations of a grimace or a smile or a fucking virginal or whorish face or whatever that woman was supposed to be, whatever background presupposed the validation and mystery of art in mirror universes triplicate, whatever suppositions arching backward have to guess about monopolies and cities twisting upward along spiral staircases on the back of an albatross not even an ancient mariner could see. So much beauty in one guess. So much wonder in the discussion.”
As you can see from the above quote, THE VIOLATORS is not a light weekend read. It takes some attention, patience, and literary curiosity to get through it. But if you have those qualities, Vincenzo’s observations about creativity and literature, made mostly through the exchanges between his characters, are phenomenal and really are the driving mechanism of the story. Bilof has an obvious love of language and it’s well represented in this book, both in content and in Vincenzo’s haunting, poetic voice:
“Talking about literature with a sociopath, just like Baudelaire in his essay, the essay that he wrote for admission into the “class.” Poe’s ghost and Baudelaire, hanging out and committing crimes together, the paranoid delusions of a French poet afflicted with the consciousness-delirium of a dead American poet; syphilis and depression and addiction and the terror . . . the terror . . .”
In Vincenzo’s bio there’s a part that reads:
“He likes to think Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and Charles Baudelaire would be proud of his work. More likely, Ed Wood would have been his biggest fan.”
and this is probably damn close to the truth of Vincenzo Bilof. But the fact of the matter is Vincenzo is a unique dude who thinks of his work as the art form it is and treats it as such. As a result, everything he writes is like nothing he’s written before and nothing you’ve read before, and THE VIOLATORS is no exception. I’d bet my left hand on it. Whatever you’re expecting going into this book, even after reading this review, you won’t even be close. If you’re daring and inquisitive and you’re not put off by gratuitous sex and violence, THE VIOLATORS is your thing. It won’t be for everyone, may well be only for a select few, but it’s a brilliant book and there aren’t enough words in the English language to give it the accolades it deserves.
You can pick up a copy of THE VIOLATORS for yourself on February 23. In the meantime, go here to check out more of Vincenzo Bilof’s groundbreaking works of fiction and poetry. Go here to purchase more outstanding dark fiction from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing.
THE VIOLATORS synopsis: Alan Chambers, an anxious loser whose goal is to become a prominent English professor, has just been accepted into the exclusive class on The Artistry of Contemporary Literature. His excitement is dampened when he learns that his new classmates are dedicated to human violation in the name of art. They have given Alan one responsibility—destroy them.
These literary violators have discovered a primal link between literature, art, sexuality, and murder. But rape and kidnapping as a means to analyze the works of James Joyce and Homer have lost their allure, and only Alan can save them from themselves.
A novel that transcends genre tropes while serving as a satirical commentary on contemporary fiction, David Lynch meets William S. Burroughs in this lucid postmodern nightmare.
About Vincenzo Bilof: From Detroit, Michigan, Vincenzo Bilof has been called “The Metallica of Poetry” and “The Shakespeare of Gore”. With a body of work that includes gritty, apocalyptic horror (The Zombie Ascension Series), surrealist prose (The Horror Show), and visceral genre satire (Vampire Strippers from Saturn), Bilof’s fiction remains as divisive and controversial as it is original. He likes to think Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and Charles Baudelaire would be proud of his work. More likely, Ed Wood would have been his biggest fan.
During the day, Bilof repairs arcade machines in semi-operational billiards clubs, or he chases his children around the house in between episodes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
You can check out his blog here: http://vincenzobilof.blogspot.com/