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In an age where I'd almost given up on honesty and authenticity in writing, a friend introduced me to Hank - and I was amazed. Maybe one or two people on earth are capable of having me in a screaming, raging fury of disgust at one moment, then two lines later can write something that lances straight into the center of my soul and gouges out something that I've been ignoring - or afraid to say - for years.Henry Rollins speaks with a voice that has been forgotten by most of us. The voice of anger, sorrow, joy, love and murderous hatred... honest and truthful in its own fictional way, consequences be damned. There are many people who'd tell you he's the Messiah, but in reality, he's just a screwed-up guy with some really good things to say - and the talent required to say them. I have great respect for people like that - and I recommend this book highly. It is, for me, and incredibly profound read.
"I saw the word Solipsist while reading the dictionary in 1993," Rollins writes on the dust jacket to his latest book. "I was living in NYC at the time and the word defined how the city made me feel. I worked on the book in several cities all over the world until 1996. The writing is obsessive and claustrophobic. To be solipsistic is to totally realize the ego and the nightmare of utter self-possession. I went for it and it swallowed me whole." That pretty much sums it up. While Rollins' writing has always been misanthropic, this is his manifesto. Lines like "all you ever did was take and watch yourself in the mirror the whole time" litter the pages. It's tough going at times, but there's an oddly positive undercurrent that tempers much of the negativity that's overshadowed much of his past work. Rollins has turned a corner with this one. As he explores the themes of alienation and self-knowledge, he lets a little more of himself bleed onto the pages than before. The topics of sellouts, fans and critics are also addressed in a much more holistic manner. Rollins seems more at ease with himself and his lot in life. Some have criticized him for being a cartoony punk Celine, but there's more to his writing than that, and it shows through in SOLIPSIST, his most consistent and literate book to date.
when i first read "solipsist" i cried. yes. i did... i am not some rollins fanatic,but i have to admit that this guy really knows what he is talking about.the way he describes loneliness,pain,humiliation that goes along sometimes with "being real" with women,the alienation that big cities can make you feel...this book sums it all up-in living colour,simple language and gut wrenching honesty. rollins talks about situations that many of us go through- the need for someone,the sleepless nights after a loved one leaves... the burning need to know where she is and what she is doing.... but! unlike others,rollins offers different solutions.rollins confronts his fear instead of being over sensitive (although his writing IS very sensitive and intelligent)- rollins offers confrontation instead of fear,long periods of loneliness instead of forced agony in marriage. he does NOT give the easy option. he tells it like it is:"wonder where your EX is? let me assuer you-she is with someone else".brutal? yes.. but true. this might not be easy reading,but whenever i was down,whenever i have felt bad about myself-whenever i woke up in the middle of the night- i opened "solipsist".didnt even matter which page ,and started reading. this book is a MUST for everyone who has ever had a hard time and DIDNT break. i will close this recommendation with a quote from "solipsist":AND YOU NEVER FORGET WHAT YOU ARE.WARRIOR.
I could not stop reading this book but I feel like I am definitely harmed by it all. It is scary and it makes me wonder what is real and what is not. I feel like I am crazy now and worried I won't recover. A-ha, that's Life. Maybe Maybe.
I stopped reading Henry's books after"Now Watch Him Die", which aided my downward spiral into the black hole of depression. Now 5 years and thousands of dollars worth of therapy later, I tentively reached out to the writings of dear old Henry. I came away from this experience with one MAJOR thought(and lots of smaller, yet more important ones). That thought was: I NEVER WANT TO BE FAMOUS. Another thought was, this guy needs some friends. Anyway, a prime book, by one of the greatest "see-ers" of this generation. Somehow, this book was more caustic than past works, but it was not so blatant. Please read this book, then read Henry Miller...
I've read four of HR's books and this one was the best. It's edgy enough to keep me coming back for more. Read it with a highlighter and mark the passages that mean something to you. If you've reached a point in life when the walls of your room are better company than those worthless people you once called friends, then this is 100% the book for you. Rollins is not a social isolationist, he's just tired of dealing with the bull and his words have the anger and insightfulness you are looking for. He is a philosopher of true existentialism, though he'd probably kick me in the head for labeling him.