Consumed

  • by David Cronenberg
  • Narrated by William Hurt
  • 12 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The exhilarating debut novel by iconic filmmaker David Cronenberg: the story of two journalists whose entanglement in a French philosopher's death becomes a surreal journey into global conspiracy.
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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.

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- Silly Goose

Pretty "Fly" for a White Guy

Any additional comments?

Readers familiar with the movies of Cronenberg will find many similar themes in Consumed. Themes of medical fetishism, insects, sci-fi gadgetry, global conspiracy and often grotesque, one-way transformation abound. While the themes may be familiar, the novel's direction was not and that is part of what I found captivating about this book.

The storyline is both modern and international. Modern tech, like tablets and digital photography are featured heavily in the plot and help give the story a contemporary feel. As we follow two photo journalist who are pursuing their own news stories in separate parts of the world, it is their cameras and computers that are indispensable intermediaries to each other.

I have only listened to one other narration by William Hurt. I forget which of Hemingway's stories it was but it was a disappointing listen, in part because Hurt sounded tired and nonchalant the whole time. I found Hurt's performance in Consumed to be nearly flawless. All of his accents were good and all of his characters were believable. I enjoyed hearing him take a sentence and prolong syllables or add an emphasis in a less then obvious way so as to provide nuance and destroy verbal monotony. Yet the overall feel of Hurt's narration is always calm even when things are tense.

If you've enjoyed the movies that spanned Cronenberg's career, then Consumed is a no-brainer.

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- brandon

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-30-2014
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio