My bestselling novel, Sex, Drugs, and Schizophrenia was recently reviewed professionally and has been featured in this week’s issue of Publishers Weekly. I am most definitely happy people are starting to talk about it. It may prove to be a difficult and complex read given its 824-page length.
Harnisch (Second Alibi, 2014, etc.) offers a novel that investigates the fractured mind of a schizophrenic.
“Let’s get the facts straight up front, to avoid any confusion later,” the author states at the start of this wild, candid book. “I am a person first, a human being, just like anyone else. Maybe a little different, that’s all.” That difference is a diagnosis of schizophrenia, and this extensive work explores the realities of mental illness through a whirlwind of fictional, narrative pieces and personal reflections. Along the way, it takes readers to places of depravity and confusion. Its characters include Ben Schreiber, a precocious but mentally ill youngster in Armani jeans, who explains his troubled life to the ever-calm Dr. C, after trying to rob a bank with a cellphone. Schreiber discusses his alter ego, Georgie Gust, a masochist and foot-fetishist, who’s wealthy enough to pay his neighbor Claudia to torture him; indeed, he seems capable of enduring any type of humiliation, so long as it doesn’t involve actually working. The first-person narrator regularly interrupts the proceedings to offer generally off-topic details: “(Parenthetical Pet Peeve) Commercials for unappetizing products shown at meal times…feminine hygiene products, jock itch, yeast infections, etc.” The scattered narrative uses diverse literary mechanisms, to say the least, mixing elements such as journal entries, a screenplay, a straightforward melodrama involving a Tourette’s sufferer at a private school, occasional celebrity name-dropping (“I met Joanna Cassidy, Dick Van Dyke, Robert Downey Jr, Mel Gibson, and others”), and a dapper figure named John Marshal, who, when asked his opinion of a party, responds, “I’d scarcely be a good judge of that…. My life is taken up with writing.” Making sense of it all in any traditional way, it would seem, isn’t really the point. From horrific scenes of child abuse (“She did. She raped me. My grandmother”) to glimpses of triumph (“I can start taking control of my life”), this long book’s many scenes of anguish and hope are difficult to take in, by any estimation. Whether readers will find the difficulty worthwhile depends largely on their tolerance for twisted tales.
A repetitive, explicit, fractured, lengthy and honest book, with an overall effect that mimics the confusion of its title.
This article was originally published here: Kirkus Reviews
My Author Page on Amazon.com can be found here:
Jonathan Harnisch: Amazon
In the meantime, the stand-alone Book One of Jonathan Harnisch: An Alibiography will be published soon, and I will link to the detail page about it here:
I believe Lover in the Nobody is my strongest writing of the Alibiography series, though explicit and raw, unabashed. This book is special to me for many reasons. I can't wait to share with you!
I competed these films while undergoing a dark, deep experience with depression, existential despair and with new tears for old grief. I am glad to see so many people have been appreciating these movies inherent beauty. I thank you, all, to God, and to all my fans, friends, and family for playing such a very special role in these short experimental pieces, although perhaps without you knowing it. The holiday seasons often bring me to a deep sense of nostalgia for good times long gone, from lost film footage in the archives here at the production office to experimenting into the depth of new ground, and new artistic expression with my goal is to find and redefine myself, through my art. A new original soundtrack for these films, originally shot on both Super 8 film stock and Hi-8 video, will be developed and inspired by the final cut of The Morning After, Chance Encounter, and Emptying His Pockets. All three films on loss, love, and life will be recreated with a revised original score, or soundtrack, over the coming months. Please leave comments, if you would. The responses for all the working cuts of these pieces have inspired me to bring The Morning After to the film festival circuit. It has been years since I retired from Hollywood film and TV work. It might, however, be time to see what I can do to reconnect with an audience in the world beyond online, once again, in some way, and if not we’ve always had the Internet, after all. Professional financing and marketing, etc., will often cause me a great deal of unwanted stress, which I prefer to do without. I suffer from a rare and co-morbid mental health diagnoses, namely those within the schizophrenia and autistic spectra. My mental illnesses have blessed me over the years with many creative gifts. So, with immense gratitude, I thank you, my muse, wife, and my family and friends without hesitation. Onward bound, as always.