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LENGTH: 7,000 words
PUBLISHER: 5everdankly publications, 2016
YOU MIGHT LIKE THIS BOOK IF YOU LIKE: Kathy Acker, Édouard Levé, Sarah Kane
Penny Goring’s book ‘hatefuck the reader’ starts with the sound of someone talking so close to your ear that you can feel hot breath:
when i was invincible i believed beauty lasts forever and i died every day. you gave me nothing. i prefer to think you hit me because you are ill. i prefer to stroke my cold pillow. i prefer to sit on a chair than a sofa. i have a plastic joint in my right big toe. you permanently damaged every part of me. my aches and pains are not caused by ageing they are the aftermath of the violence. the end of a story is something i forget. in the month leading up to the twin towers event, i kept waking from a dream where an aeroplane was crashing through my window. i look better in photographs than irl. i don’t truly believe in anything. i am startled when anyone calls me Pen, it implies familiarity and affection. i am slow to learn from my mistakes in life, but not in my work. i am attracted to boys girls women men anyone anything anybody. competition repels me. to describe what remains would distress me. i wonder if i will ever truly want to give up smoking. when i sit on the edge of my bed i worry about damaging the mattress, i try to sit on a different area every time, there are not enough different areas. you said i was boring in bed, then you fucked me every day for 2 years. i have cheated on all of my lovers, they were easy to fool, so was i. i joke about Art when it is invoked with a capital A. i wonder if i love anybody except my daughter, it often feels like hate. i do not intentionally remember hurt. i do not trust you. i was fined £1000 for criminal damage, this is how it happened, you punched me in the face until i stopped talking, then you grabbed a knife, then you stabbed holes in my thin plaster walls, then you ran outside, then i knew what had hurt me was outside, then i wanted to hurt the hurt, then i hurled dirty plates and cutlery out the window, then a plate smashed the sunroof of a BMW parked in the road way down below. it is a serious crime to damage a car because car equals money on wheels, and that is the true meaning of beauty.
The book comes at you in a non-stop flood of confessions:
“i got my 1st black eyes, broken nose, walking home through the park after school. i curled in a ball in the mud, a crucial bone in my spine got kicked into a new shape”
“at times i have lived with people who are now dead, believing it to be a forever thing.”
“i have seen a dead junkie hovering 2″ above me in bed, yes, i have known ghosts, and i have felt their fabric.”
The book looks beautiful to me. It’s one of my favorite examples of digital literature. I look forward to the time when print versions of books become collectors items and pdfs become the norm. Nowadays most of us consume our music and movies in digital, streaming formats. We don’t need cds and dvds to enjoy albums and movies. We don’t need print books to enjoy great works of literature.
‘hatefuck the reader’ never stops to take a breath, and even by the last sentence it seems like it could keep going forever. What does Penny talk about? Poverty, abuse, art, memories, sex, habits, apartments, dreams, death, children, drugs, unconsciousness, sickness, hope, and everything else. It’s hard for me to think of many other books that have as much sustained energy. It’s relentless.