LOVER IN THE NOBODY
A brilliant riveting, extraordinary, and harrowing odyssey into an embattled self, full of laughter, compassion, and a distinctive understanding of severe mental illness.
From the Author:
LOVER IN THE NOBODY, LIVING COLORFUL BEAUTY and WHEN WE WERE INVINCIBLE have been nominated for the Crimson Quill Award and the INDIEFAB (the INDIES) Book of the Year! Both LOVER IN THE NOBODY and LIVING COLORFUL BEAUTY, have been chosen as Foreword Reviews' prestigious INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards finalists in erotica. In a competition with over 1,500 other entrants, it's pretty great to have made it this far. Stay tuned for the winner announcements at the end of June. Further, two of my books have made the BlueInk Review Best Books of 2016 list on Goodreads! Their list is composed of their favorite titles; books. I ask you to notify all your friends and followers of my books LOVER IN THE NOBODY and WHEN WE WERE INVINCIBLE, which are on this list. Invite them to vote for my titles, which will increase its ranking on the site. LOVER IN THE NOBODY, LIVING COLORFUL BEAUTY and WHEN WE WERE INVINCIBLE are in the running for the 24th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards and the BookLife Prize for Fiction. Publishers Weekly launched BookLife to integrate self-published book reviews into their regular review coverage. LIVING COLORFUL BEAUTY is a finalist in the NIEA 2016 Awards! - The National Indie Excellence Awards. Thank you for your wishes for continued success in promoting my books.
-- Jonathan Harnisch
A young man battling extreme mental illness brings his sadomasochistic fantasies to life in Harnisch's (Sex, Drugs, and Schizophrenia, 2014, etc.) latest novel. As this riveting story opens, Georgie Gust, a suicidal Tourette's syndrome patient, tells his doctor he wants to leave the mental institution where he's been committed. When the doctor puts him off, Gust finds himself buffeted by violent fantasies of escape, and he even prepares to hang himself. The novel plunges readers into the mind of a man at war with his own urges, memories, and sexual obsessions. After a scene shift, Gust's chauffeur, Ben, delivers him to his empty home, where Margaret, his only friend, visits to check on him. However, she annoys him because "she seems to care." Later, Gust, a foot fetishist, gives a pedicure to his sexy neighbor, Claudia, in a scene lit with unexpected poetry and poignancy. As the narrative viewpoint flickers among Gust, Ben, and a quasi-omniscient third-person perspective, Gust's voracious appetite for pain prompts him to hire Claudia to torment him. (He has wealthy parents, so he spends cash liberally.) When Claudia's house goes up in flames, she moves in with him, and their sadomasochistic bond descends into extraordinary, hallucinatory violence. In Claudia's hands, Gust discovers new depths of masochism, and she finds joy in tormenting him. Despite the garishness, brutality, and squalor of many passages (which are not for the squeamish), more sophisticated readers will appreciate the extraordinary feat Harnisch has accomplished. He lucidly, poignantly conveys a mind riven with what are, after all, human vulnerabilities: mental pathologies, shameful fantasies, anguished doubts about the natures of reality, love, and memory. In the hands of a lesser writer, these themes would splinter the narrative. Fortunately, the author masters his material; readers will believe the voices that vivify it and compassionately wish them to find the healing that eludes them. An extraordinary, harrowing odyssey into an embattled self, full of humor, compassion, and a rare understanding of mental illness.
-- Kirkus Reviews
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.
-- Foreword Clarion Reviews
Equal parts existential nihilism and fetishistic erotica, this darkly hypnotic novel--in which the lines between reality and delusion are hopelessly blurred--chronicles a mentally ill man's search for meaning in his life, or at least some kind of profound corporeal satisfaction. Georgie Gust, who has Tourette's syndrome and may be schizophrenic, is also a hardcore masochist and foot fetishist and believes that finding the "everlasting orgasm" is what he needs to change his life. The son of independently wealthy parents, Gust has frequented kinky sex clubs for years without any real fulfillment. But when he becomes enamored with his next-door neighbor--a middle-aged paramedic named Claudia--he offers to pay her to be his torturer, his "personal trainer in pain." But the fiery redhead takes her job a little too seriously and the humiliation quickly escalates to brutal, life-threatening assaults. His alluring dominatrix with the "perfect, long, skinny toes" is quickly transformed into a psychotic madwoman who is systematically destroying his life: "...that bitch, that whore, that woman I love and hate. She created a paradise and then set it aflame. She is my world and its end, my kinky sex goddess, my creepy-crawly nemesis." The brilliance of this storyline--and it is brilliant--is in the author's use of the unreliable narrator. The novel begins with Gust in a psych ward after an apparent suicide attempt. As his story unfolds, the reader is introduced to Ben, who may be Gust's limo driver, a figment of his imagination, or an alter ego. The reader is never quite sure until the very end -- when a bombshell revelation turns the entire narrative upside down. Lover in the Nobody is a poignant exploration into the world of mental illness that is simultaneously deeply disturbing and salaciously spellbinding. It is sure to resonate with readers long after the last page is turned.
-- BlueInk Review
Intensely powerful, truly absorbing, Lover In the Nobody by bestselling author Jonathan Harnisch creates a dark and mysterious inner world that connects the pleasures of pain with the fragmented psyche. Utilizing sadomasochism on the peripheries of an uncomfortable reality the familiar is rendered unrecognizable and displaced as Harnisch masterfully explores the fantasy landscape in which sadomasochism thrives. Most sexual relationships in novels have a limited number of potential outcomes, but Harnisch warps the accepted boundaries as he delves into his protagonists tortured mind. That he writes from the well of personal experience is both sobering and profoundly intimate. His words are staggeringly sharp and there are few writers who can create such penetratingly potent imagery with relatively sparse prose, whilst sex in its darkest manifestation reveals the deeper pathology at work in Harnisch's mind. A tantalizing distraction that both isolates and magnifies something far more profound, it challenges the reader to look beyond madness and the errant energies it sets loose, to consider what it really means to lose control and the price exacted to regain it. Dark, often brutal, but nothing short of unforgettable, Lover In The Nobody proves the manifestation of a truly remarkable mind. Widely acclaimed and deserving of a place on your bookshelf, it is recommended without reservation.
-- Book Viral