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Stylish and camera-obsessed, Naomi and Nathan thrive on the yellow journalism of the social-media age. They are lovers and competitors - nomadic freelancers in pursuit of sensation and depravity, encountering each other only in airport hotels and browser windows.
Naomi finds herself drawn to the headlines surrounding Célestine and Aristide Arosteguy, Marxist philosophers and sexual libertines. Célestine has been found dead and mutilated in her Paris apartment. Aristide has disappeared. Police suspect him of killing her and consuming parts of her body. With the help of an eccentric graduate student named Hervé Blomqvist, Naomi sets off in pursuit of Aristide. As she delves deeper into Célestine and Aristide's lives, disturbing details emerge about their sex life - which included trysts with Hervé and others. Can Naomi trust Hervé to help her?
Nathan, meanwhile, is in Budapest photographing the controversial work of an unlicensed surgeon named Zoltán Molnár, once sought by Interpol for organ trafficking. After sleeping with one of Molnár's patients, Nathan contracts a rare STD called Roiphe's. Nathan then travels to Toronto, determined to meet the man who discovered the syndrome. Dr. Barry Roiphe, Nathan learns, now studies his own adult daughter, whose bizarre behavior masks a devastating secret. These parallel narratives become entwined in a gripping, dreamlike plot that involves geopolitics, 3-D printing, North Korea, the Cannes Film Festival, cancer, and, in an incredible number of varieties, sex. Consumed is an exuberant, provocative debut novel from one of the world’s leading film directors.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Silly Goose on 10-06-14
Hurt's performance gives characters more dimension
Would you listen to Consumed again? Why?
I probably will listen again at some point. This is a compelling example of how novels should be read.
Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?
I read the book first, so there were no surprises with regards to plot.
Have you listened to any of William Hurt’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
This is the only performance by Hurt I have listened to, but his reading style adds so much to the characters in this novel.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
"Consumed" is a very cerebral novel; it affects you more in a critical, philosophical manner. For those who enjoy Cronenberg's films, I think this novel has a similar characteristic where there is an element of shock and awe in the aesthetic of the storytelling, but the impression you're left with is far more intellectual in nature.
Any additional comments?
When I read the book I felt like the characters lacked the kind of depth that affects a reader in any lasting way. There wasn't anything particularly memorable about the characters; they seemed to be written with great intuition, but were ultimately forgettable. Listening to the audiobook didn't necessarily change my impression, but it did give the characters a sense of nuance that makes them feel human and relatable. Will Hurt's performance make these characters stand out in my memory? No, not really, I'm almost certain I will still forget them, but I do enjoy the story more and it will make the novel as a whole more memorable.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful