"I believe that anyone suffering from any type of mental illness is one badass mother fucker. Nothing is more terrifying than battling with your own mind every single day. So, get ready for this: Lover in the Nobody is not for the faint of heart. Enter the literary playground of the wildly eccentric author and all-around artist, dreamer, man on a mission, and human being just like you who also suffers—like all of us, in one way or another—to some degree. The author (oui, c’est moi, l’auteur, the third person) laughs as he writes this, but hey, we’re all for sale in some way. But actually, I’m all over the place. I’m in my head, my imagination, and my moment, comfortable here (comfortable nowhere . . . ). Have I already lost you? Awesome! Keep reading. I’m not in the marketing business, after all. I do what I do, as they say, and I change. All the time, often taking delight in the touchy topic of madness, for example, in this brand new, raw, brutally honest, and extremely palpable psychiatric thriller that is part fiction, part truth. Noted scribe featured in Publishers Weekly and Writer’s Digest, among other literary publications, . . . and controversial mental health advocate, Jonathan Harnisch (Jonathan Harnisch: An Alibiography (2014); Second Alibi: The Banality of Life (2014); Sex, Drugs, and Schizophrenia (2014) . . .), the four-time #1 Amazon Best Selling Author and #1 writer of Hot New Releases under the subject of schizophrenia, introduces his (“Yours?” asks Dr. C, in my throbbing, labyrinthine head), yes, mine, debut novel. Perhaps my pièce de résistance, Jonathan Harnisch: An Alibiography, is now being taught at the university level for its inspiration and vivid feelings of a disturbed reality, which is sometimes disquieting, other times harsh. And with real emotions, it is culture-bearing, brazen, and bordering on brilliant—blam! Here she is, for 10 bucks (US), with all royalties donated to charity through the Jonathan Harnisch Foundation. Boom! Lover in the Nobody, where Ben Schreiber (voila, c’est moi, c’est Jonathan!) has Tourette’s syndrome, causing him to display uncontrollable tics and hops, with a stutter, swearing inappropriately. Bullied throughout his school years, he can never form firm friendships, especially with women. He’s simply incapable of happiness. In his late twenties, he plunges into a downward spiral of drug and alcohol abuse that culminates in an attempted bank robbery using a cell phone as a fake bomb. He is arrested and placed under psychiatric evaluation, where his psychiatrist, Dr. C, quickly sees Ben’s affliction as more than just Tourette’s. Ben is not alone. Inside his head lives Georgie Gust, Ben’s alter ego. Georgie is obsessed with his manipulative and extremely sexual next door neighbor Claudia Nesbitt and shares a sadomasochistic relationship with her that is supported only by his obsession. Claudia has no love for Georgie, and while Ben desperately searches for someone, Claudia Nesbitt, the perfect woman, will provide him with the unconditional love that he never received as a boy. He finds it easier to retreat into his mind to share George’s sick obsession with the cruel and abusive Claudia than to deal with his real issues. Dr. C senses that Ben is suffering from some type of post-traumatic stress that occurred early in his childhood and that he is using Georgie as an escape when bad memories start to surface. It is up to Dr. C to help Ben face the buried terrors of his childhood so that he can finally let go of Georgie and reduce him to the literary character that writer Ben wants him to be."
—Jonathan Harnisch, Author, Lover in the Nobody
P.S. I never said I was “normal.” I suffer, I move on. I laugh, I cry. I write it all out and never give up. Sending light and love, from me, Mr. J.
“People like me are aware of their so-called genius at ten, eight, nine. . . . I always wondered, ``Why has nobody discovered me?'' In school, didn't they see that I'm cleverer than anybody in this school? That the teachers are stupid, too? That all they had was information that I didn't need? I got fuckin' lost in being at high school. I used to say to me auntie,``You throw my fuckin' poetry out, and you'll regret it when I'm famous, '' and she threw the bastard stuff out. I never forgave her for not treating me like a fuckin' genius or whatever I was, when I was a child. It was obvious to me. Why didn't they put me in art school? Why didn't they train me? Why would they keep forcing me to be a fuckin' cowboy like the rest of them? I was different I was always different. Why didn't anybody notice me? A couple of teachers would notice me, encourage me to be something or other, to draw or to paint - express myself. But most of the time they were trying to beat me into being a fuckin' dentist or a teacher”
― John Lennon
Lover in the Nobody Paperback – December 15, 2014
by Jonathan Harnisch (Author)
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.
The characters' conversation seems stiff and "literary."
-- Judge, 23rd Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards
By Book Junkie on April 5, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
I accidentally came across this book on NetGalley and was so intrigued by the synopsis that I immediately requested permission to read it in exchange for my honest review. The synopsis made the books sound incredibly fascinating! I love strange, odd, bizarre stories yet this book is so out of this realm that it was confusing.
Because I read the synopsis, I knew the main character in this book had Dissociative Identity Disorder, (otherwise known as Multiple Personality Disorder). Throughout the entire book it was unclear who the, "real" people/characters were. I was constantly wondering if the characters I was reading about were alters, dream or hallucination. If a character was hallucinating was it due to psychoses or from drugs? When they're worth 2 characters interacting with one another, it was unclear whether 2 were actually physically there or if of the characters was a hallucination. Similarly, I was constantly wondering if the events that occurred in the story were actually happening to the character(s) or if they were dreams
or hallucinations. It was all just a messy jumble of chaos!
In one paragraph it states, "It's there, that the two are surrounded by vanilla-scented candlelight. (Lust always wins over self-enlightenment. That’s why we are at once so prolific and so infinitely ridiculous.)" I am not quoting this part of the book just to illustrate how bad the editing is with the extra commas and parenthesis in the wrong locations but to give an example of how odd and tangential the content is.
There were several entertaining scenes and a handful of times when the author used hilarious names for body parts (for example, referring to a penis as a, "man dagger") but during the majority of the book, it was difficult to decipher exactly what the author was saying. I feel that the author was attempting to illustrate how very complex and confusing the mind of the mentally ill main character was yet I wonder if it was actually the author's brain that was so jumbled, resulting in such a confusing book? As it is now, I would not recommend this book to anyone.
By Street Book on April 14, 2015
This book introduces Benjamin (Ben, Benjy) Schreiber, who has Tourette's syndrome. He has been bullied in his childhood and has trouble with friendships and relationships with women. He seldom feels happy. The story starts with him being under the care of a psychiatrist. As one reads you become aware that the main character has "another personality" that helps him cope with stressful events. His alter-ego is Georgie who is obsessed with his manipulative, but extremely sexual next-door neighbor Claudia Nesbitt and they share a sadomasochistic relationship. Ben wants a relationship with a perfect woman but Georgie is obsessed with Claudia. This book was interesting but in some ways difficult to read as I kept wanting Ben to take over and be able to move into a more healthy relationship. However, Georgie remained firmly in control throughout most of the book. The writing style is interesting and witty but unusual. If you like unique books that do not have cookie-cutter happy endings then you might like trying this book. It does give good exposure to the reader on mental illness and dysfunctional relationships at it's most extreme.