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Paradoxia: A Predator's Diary Paperback – October 1, 2007

3.9 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Art-rocker, filmmaker and '80s doyenne Lunch opens this confession, first published in the UK in 1997, with an account of her childhood sexual abuse: "So twisted by men, a man, my father, that I became like one." She's not looking for healing or sympathy, but to explain her transformation into a sexual predator. From Lunch's arrival in pre-AIDS New York as a teenager, she matter-of-factly "targets marks," trades her body for rooms and drugs, and uses increasingly transgressive sex for a high of its own: she deflowers runaway teenage boys ("supping on their energy like an insatiable bloodsucker whose belly would never fill"), dabbles with a cannibal (whose room smells like "barbecue and old leather"), and turns tricks with a lesbian mother trying to put her girlfriend through law school. Of johns and men in general, she writes that they all "get milked." She describes the beginnings of her performance work as "a bigger hustle" that she undertakes because it "took up too much time servicing just one john at a time." Beyond the book's chronicling of Lunch's desires, it serves an overarching, exhibitionist desire to perform, and it brings a decrepit, vanished New York to life. Lunch's book is explicit, and it sometimes matches a rawness of experience with a purpleness of prose, but it recreates its time and place with vivid authenticity.
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Review

A tantalising read. -- Express

It's extremely rare to read a book so virulent and honest. Do so, and be enlightened. -- Neon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Akashic Books (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933354356
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933354354
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #904,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If you are not familiar with Lydia Lunch, then you may be in for a rude awakening. Lydia's specialty is brutality - brutal honesty, brutal emotions, and a brutal no-nonsense delivery. She revels in kicking down pre-fabricated houses of illusion and letting the cold harsh light of day in to expose all festering wounds, withering sins and those nasty little trolls that like to hide in the shadows. Her imagery is an assault to the more refined senses. Jane Austen she's not.
I've heard this book described as fiction, then as non-fiction, then as a fictionalized autobiography. I don't think it matters, really, because it's all true somewhere, in some way, to somebody. Tales of people abusing other people, abusing themselves, struggling to crawl out of the gutter only to stumble right back in. Messed-up heads, bruised hearts, ravished souls, all going around in circles reliving the same nightmare over and over again. Some survive, some don't, some break free while others pray for salvation. And there's Lydia declaring that if you want saving then you gotta do it yourself. Wake-up and smell the stench, folks.
Some accuse her of possessing no compassion, no humanity, no sense of beauty. But I think it's there, just painted in various shades of gray instead of the black or white to which many are accustomed. It's there, just raw and aching and unadorned. Sometimes you just have to be cruel to be kind.
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Format: Hardcover
I was given this book as a Christmas present from my parents. Those of you who've read it will know how incredibly ludicrous that is. Of course, I requested it for Christmas not knowing what to expect, and they being none the wiser purchased it. If they only knew . . . But the book itself was much more than I expected and much less than I expected. Its graphic recount of Lydia's experiences is almost nauseating -- I found myself thoroughly disgusted with her, which is something great because it takes A LOT to disgust me. But I was compelled to read on, finishing it within two days (for it is a rather short read). It's like sick fascination -- when you're drawn to watch, in horror and in wonder, the mutilated remains of a car wreck victim being scraped off the road. I couldn't bring myself to stop reading. I wanted to know if she'd found some sort of redemption, had any sort of revelataion, or had come to terms with her rage. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Lydia is a woman after my own heart -- not because of what she's done or how she thinks, but because of her need for expression and to purge her mind. In Paradoxia she's done this with such brutal honesty you have to at least respect her for it. Even if you still hate her by the end of the book, you'll appreciate what she's just given you -- a little slice of her viscuous soul.
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By A Customer on December 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
An adventure story is not like cartoons on Saturday morning. An adventure is truly dangerous and forces the participants to face their worst fears in exchange for pain, enlightenment, joy, freedom, and a new set of treacherous obstacles.
Lydia Lunch brings us along her twisted sexual landscape in Paradoxia where everything is allowed to the point where it almost kills her and others die or episodes of extreme ecstasy and pleasure transpire. What she achieves through the series of violence, sex, and psychosis is what we all should be trying to do instead of working some job.
She illustrates the consequences of living an autonomous life, thereby refusing the status quo and security of the "straight life" in exchange for living life to its extreme boundaries of death, pain, and suffering. And where has it all gotten her? Well, I believe she's what you call an artist.
Paradoxia is also partially a documentation (and I assume everything she is saying is basically true) of New York in the late 70's and L.A. into the early 80's when artists still had a chance to be just that instead of working 40+ hours/wk just to pay rent. She was living an adventure not a routine, and paying for it every step of the way. In return she received her personal freedom, which simply meant continuous struggle with either other people or her own mind. Life ain't easy.
Paradoxia stands as a constant reminder to continually recreate your life, to live it as an adventure, in order to retain control of it from your psychotic lover, your totalitarian government, or your own personal demons.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Going into this book, all I really knew about Lydia Lunch was her work with Sonic Youth death valley '69 12). That is to say, not much.

Being a fan of transgressive fiction and women who break the rules, I was intrigued by the item description. Once I started the book, it was difficult to put it down. Lunch writes with a fantastically brutal purple prose. Her love for language comes across and I found myself reading this book during every spare minute I could gather.

Even the disgusting parts (and believe me, there is some disgusting stuff in here) were compelling. Scratch that -- the disgusting parts were especially compelling.

But as the book continued (around the time she fled her crazy boyfriend and went to Los Angeles), I felt the energy of the book winding down. The crazy hedonism of her early years read a lot better than the soul-searching and mystical ramblings she transitioned to.

So am I glad I read it? Absolutely. I would recommend it to fans of Lunch or people who like to read on-the-edge fiction (or fictionalized memoir, or whatever this is). It's just an uneven reading experience and a little self-congratulatory at the end (like when the guy dies because she's so hot he can't stop looking at her and steps in front of a bus -- is that really necesssary?).
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