Book review: Torture the artist / Joey Goebel (2004)
Really enjoyed this novel, which has an interesting concept. Will be added to my favourite books! Could be the best writer you’ve never heard of! Don’t be put off by the title, there is no physical torture on display, only mental. I love the artwork on the front cover, you don’t see something that original and imaginative too often.
Without giving too much away, the 265 page story is about Vincent, an aspiring writer. Harlan Eiffler, an ex-musician, who is disgusted by shallow entertainment, poses as Vincent’s manager, and nurtures his career. Harlan works for New Renaissance, an experimental organization, who emphasize artistic quality over commerce. Harlan is requested to secretly manipulate Vincent’s life and cause him to suffer, so that he will always have inspiration to create art. It’s easy to care about the deceived main character Vincent, but at the same time could the manipulating really be worth it and what about free will? Is the best art born from pain?
I kind of agree with the author Joey Goebel that there is way too much brainless entertainment being forced upon us these days, and his comments on celebrity are intriguing. This book was hard to put down, and will probably appeal to people who like myself enjoy alternative /independent / original material, and mostly loath formulaic mainstream entertainment. He puts into words something we have all questioned at one time or another. For example, are we making the right choices when it comes to what we consume?
The novel has some good music and film references to look out for. For example we get to hear what each character’s favourite musician, TV-show and movie is. The book also contains some funny dialogue and bizarre anecdotes, such as Shirley Temple taking anti-growth hormones! The overall atmosphere and style is fairly similar to Chuck Palahniuk, of FIGHT CLUB fame. Torture the artist is also provocative and controversial, but isn’t as violent.
Joey Goebel is fairly obscure, but a talented and uncompromising American author. Torture the Artist I think deserves a wider audience and more recognition, which is why I am recommending it.