Narcisa: Our Lady of Ashes Info

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The first trade edition of the cult classic from the
artist/author hailed by Iggy Pop as “the great nightmare anti-hero
of the new age,” legendary tattoo artist Jonathan Shaw, that
chronicles a scandalous, degenerative addiction between two
people—a wild, brutal, passionate, and unstoppable ride into
depravity and darkness through the back alleys of Rio De Janeiro and New
York City.

A legendary tattoo master and notorious creator of
trendsetting underground art, Jonathan Shaw has created a masterpiece
with this powerful story that captures the destructive addiction of
love, sex and drugs, embodied in two people whose irresistible passions
threaten to destroy them.

In the wild backwaters of Rio de Janeiro
and New York, motorcycle-riding, nomadic outlaw poet Ignacio Valencia
Lobos—known as Cigano—attempts in vain to curb the unhinged
habits of his lover Narcisa, a crack-smoking philosopher prostitute.
Though he knows they will destroy each other, Narcisa is an exquisite
poison he cannot resist. As they navigate the chaos of her downward
spiral—dragged deeper by the gravity of drugs, burglaries and
violence, Cigano recounts a love affair doomed by insanity, dysfunction,
and vice.

A magnificent epic of literary genius, Narcisa
belongs among the works of such greats as Charles Bukowski, Henry
Miller, William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Irvine Welsh, and Hunter S.
Thompson.


Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for Narcisa: Our Lady of Ashes:

3

Aug 10, 2008

I am trying to read this book. But I can't help but wonder why. It sits under my bed with the other six books I am "trying" to read, although I've read more of Narcisa than the others. Once in awhile I'll pull it out, read a chapter, look at where I am and then wonder how Shaw can keep writing on this same subject for another 250 pages. The non-codependent side of me just wants him to run away, dump the girl, move on and count himself lucky he still has some sense of sanity. The codependent side I am trying to read this book. But I can't help but wonder why. It sits under my bed with the other six books I am "trying" to read, although I've read more of Narcisa than the others. Once in awhile I'll pull it out, read a chapter, look at where I am and then wonder how Shaw can keep writing on this same subject for another 250 pages. The non-codependent side of me just wants him to run away, dump the girl, move on and count himself lucky he still has some sense of sanity. The codependent side is appalled at his behavior. Obviously even good codependents have some sense of boundaries, albeit as weak as hell, but this. Yet for some reason I haven't called it quits.....

- The above initial review was my first impression while reading Narcisa: Our Lady of Ashes. And although I still don't know how, or why, Shaw would bang out an entire novel regarding his insane affair with Narcisa, I now know why I continued to read. Shaw's 'voice' is the draw here. He drones on in his insanity with the precision of rapid fire street slang driven patois - but it's English, the English that I talk, that a majority of the English speaking world dabbles in, or at least desires to hear. It's the poetry of language spoken from an urban prospective. Not the words of dead poets and ancient redundant authors intent on correct pronunciation and good grammar. And yeah, let's all look to Burroughs, and Bukowski, and make comparisons, but that's not the point. I'd rather just thank Shaw for sharing the voice in his head. ...more
3

May 04, 2015

I love this book even though reading it has been painful. It holds up a mirror to my own co-dependency and makes me realize just how bad it could possibly be and makes me thankful that things never got that far with my personal Narcisa. Still, the fact that the book can evoke so much emotion while I read it: anger, yearning, sadness, remorse and regret makes it a book worth reading (IMHO). I understand that a lot of people won't be able to relate to what is happening in this novel and will I love this book even though reading it has been painful. It holds up a mirror to my own co-dependency and makes me realize just how bad it could possibly be and makes me thankful that things never got that far with my personal Narcisa. Still, the fact that the book can evoke so much emotion while I read it: anger, yearning, sadness, remorse and regret makes it a book worth reading (IMHO). I understand that a lot of people won't be able to relate to what is happening in this novel and will probably hate it. I envy those people. ...more
3

May 21, 2014

I think I would have liked this twice as much if it had been about half as long.
5

Jul 28, 2017

This is one of the toughest books I've ever read. 600 pages long, it is one long cycle of sex, fighting, drugs and addiction. When you reach the end of the book you are pretty much in the same place as the beginning. I feel knackered after reaching the end, at times I had to put the book down and rest, the characters suffer from sleep deprivation at times and I seriously think this book made me feel that. Narcisa is a horrible hurricane of a character, she destroys everything she touches and I'm This is one of the toughest books I've ever read. 600 pages long, it is one long cycle of sex, fighting, drugs and addiction. When you reach the end of the book you are pretty much in the same place as the beginning. I feel knackered after reaching the end, at times I had to put the book down and rest, the characters suffer from sleep deprivation at times and I seriously think this book made me feel that. Narcisa is a horrible hurricane of a character, she destroys everything she touches and I'm impressed Ignacio stuck with her for so long I would have abandoned her after the first few pages (I've not hated a character this much since Catcher in the Rye). The book deals with addiction, not just drugs but Ignacio is addicted to Narcisa and that can mess you up just as much as drugs can. After saying all that I've gotta admit that I loved this book, it has been one hell of an experience and you really have to read it. ...more
5

Oct 13, 2013

“Between us, there always seemed to exist some deeper identification, born of a deep, unspoken bond; an underlying sense of kinship. It was as if loving Narcisa was like loving some wayward, feral strand of myself; a distorted funhouse mirror image of my own brutalised, mangled, forgotten inner child, restructured into rude juvenile delinquent female form, with a crooked, charismatic smile of mischief at the end of her fuzzy pink tongue.”

Jonathan Shaw’s Narcisa is a classic tale of addiction. “Between us, there always seemed to exist some deeper identification, born of a deep, unspoken bond; an underlying sense of kinship. It was as if loving Narcisa was like loving some wayward, feral strand of myself; a distorted funhouse mirror image of my own brutalised, mangled, forgotten inner child, restructured into rude juvenile delinquent female form, with a crooked, charismatic smile of mischief at the end of her fuzzy pink tongue.”

Jonathan Shaw’s Narcisa is a classic tale of addiction. Not of drug addiction, although there is plenty of that riddling its decrepit, cobble-stoned sub-tropical streets, but of the addiction of one person for another. What, in most other instances, would be called “love”, although you won’t find many referring to this book as a love story. That is, however, exactly what it is; as buried as it may be beneath a thousand grimy layers of depravity, dysfunction, violence and insanity, Narcisa is a far more realistic, accurate, and pure portrayal of love than whatever turgid shit Hollywood or Jodi Picoult is churning out these days. Shaw captures the side of love that sends Hollywood running for the hills, the tortuous, strung-out junkie experience of knowing that someone or something is pure poison and loving it, needing it anyway.

Ignacio Valencia Lobos, or Cigano, is a Yamaha-riding, Gypsy-wandering bandito poet who returns to the Brazil of his rampant youth and finds his heroin/e in the form of Narcisa, a schizophrenic crack-smoking esoteric-philosophising teenage prostitute, and down the cosmic rabbit hole he goes. Narcisa charts the endlessly circling existential hell Cigano finds himself in, fully aware of how bad Narcisa is for him and yet unable to let her go.

This novel reads like a long-lost literary classic, and references to the Internet and mobile phones feel almost idiosyncratic in a tale that would otherwise slide in easily beside older works by Kerouac, Burroughs, Miller, Fante and Bukowski. Narcisa, reads, in fact, a lot like Bukowski, in its world-weariness and hard-edged skid row charm, that is, if Bukowski had ever gotten out of LA or done anything besides drifting between bars, menial jobs and cold water apartments. Narcisa shares with Bukowski and the Beats the same deep-burning poetic flare and earnest obsession with the types of people and experiences that most of society shuns or turns a deliberately blind eye to, but it also has a deep-rooted connection with its geographic setting: the exotic, equal parts beautiful and dangerous muggy urban jungle of Rio De Janeiro, and a knowledge that can only come from personal experience.

Jonathan Shaw has had one hell of a life, and it fills this work of fiction like blood pumping through its veins. The son of legendary jazz musician Artie Shaw, Shaw spent his youth wandering the back roads and alleyways of South America much like the hero of his novel before making a name for himself in the US as one of the most revered tattoo artists of all time, counting notable figures such as Johnny Depp, Iggy Pop, Jim Jarmusch, Marilyn Manson and Kat Von D amongst his patrons and fans. Shaw eventually turned from skin to manuscript, and developed almost overnight cult status in the world of underground literature, with the first edition of Narcisa, released through musician and author Wes Eisold’s (American Nightmare, Cold Cave) indie publishing house Heartworm Press in 2007, selling out almost immediately, with out-of-print copies now going for as much as $300 a pop on Amazon and Ebay.

While Internet resellers continue to make a fortune off his work, Shaw, who doesn’t even own a copy of his own book, has returned to South America and the nomad lifestyle, going where the road and his Harley take him, all the while tinkering away at his next projects, Scab Vendor, a collection of autobiographical tales dealing with his early years and his time spent in the tattoo business, and a new, completely revised and rewritten version of Narcisa. Both are to be released in the near future on major publishers, hopefully so that the world at large, and those who don’t have the time or money to seek out his ultra-rare early releases, will finally be able to discover the destined-to-be classic works of this literary master and true iconoclast. ...more
5

Jun 12, 2014

...If paper was a drug, beware Narcissa, lest you discover your addictive beast in the reading of these pages. Not since the first time reading Kerouac or Bukowski have I felt so helpless to put a book aside. I will echo many other reviewers in that this is not for the meek or mild- a hell ride that makes one run for the beginning of the line to do it all over again (perhaps the bit of Cigano in all of us), Mr. Shaw shouts to our demons and cozens us with brutal reality. A MUST read!!!
5

May 31, 2015

I saw Jonathan Shaw do an event at The Last Bookstore in downtown LA. He had a band performing while he read and it was one of the most unique readings I've ever attended. It was my first exposure to his work and it was clear to me that he has been influenced by some of the world's best emotive poetry. It was a a haunting experience and something I'll never forget.

There's been a lot of comparisons to Shaw by the press and other reviewers. Rolling Stone called him, "The next Bukowski". And there I saw Jonathan Shaw do an event at The Last Bookstore in downtown LA. He had a band performing while he read and it was one of the most unique readings I've ever attended. It was my first exposure to his work and it was clear to me that he has been influenced by some of the world's best emotive poetry. It was a a haunting experience and something I'll never forget.

There's been a lot of comparisons to Shaw by the press and other reviewers. Rolling Stone called him, "The next Bukowski". And there have been countless comparisons to the Beat Generation. I think his works stands completely alone and it's exciting that we have a new cult figure emerging in a time when literature has been losing its fervor.

Narcisa: Our Lady of Ashes explores the relational anguish that exists on the landscape of our soul.

My favorite aspect of this story was rooting for the anti-heroes. Cigano and Narcisa offer a brilliant indictment on the poisoned symbiotic relationships that kill us, while reminding us that we are still human. If you've ever been in a codependent relationship where you've enabled someone, this novel will speak to you in a scary way. The imagery was beautiful. The writing was raw and unique. This is a book that shouldn't be missed and something I will be reading again, for sure.
...more
1

Jun 29, 2015

If you, like Johnny Depp apparently, are the kind of person who prides yourself on liking things that are depraved and "diabolical" then you'll probably love this book, and good for you, I guess, you do you. A lot of this book's descriptions felt like it was relying on shock value (I can't find the quote right now, but the one that comes to mind is when he used a simile that was something along the lines of "like semen [but probably a more vulgar word] running down the face of a molested If you, like Johnny Depp apparently, are the kind of person who prides yourself on liking things that are depraved and "diabolical" then you'll probably love this book, and good for you, I guess, you do you. A lot of this book's descriptions felt like it was relying on shock value (I can't find the quote right now, but the one that comes to mind is when he used a simile that was something along the lines of "like semen [but probably a more vulgar word] running down the face of a molested child"). Wow! Congratulations! You are so twisted! You win a prize!

The main character, Cigano, really liked to pat himself on the back for trying to help Narcisa even when she was so unbelievably messed up and behaved terribly/abusively towards him. Which, sure, I guess she did, she was a piece of work, but he was the guy in his forties screwing and enabling a supremely disturbed teenager. He was constantly giving her money for drugs in exchange for sex - he justified it by saying that if he didn't give her the money then she'd just find another, more damaging way to get it. That may be true, but he specifically makes it a transactional deal, sex in exchange for drug money, so don't get all sanctimonious on me about it, dude. Also a few of the sex scenes seemed like borderline rape (not counting the two, yes TWO, scenes where he had sex with her multiple times while she was unconscious, which is waaaaay over the border).

I'm sure people who are super into this book would probably love to call me a prude for being disgusted by it (because isn't the disgust kind of the point?). I don't think that I particularly am, but they can go ahead and think that. Glorify depravity all you want, but it is really not my thing. ...more
5

Dec 20, 2012

This is the journal of a trip over the edge that somehow still manages to keep a tiny glimmer of hope alive inside the wreckage it depicts. All the frontal lobe examinations in the world delineated into this raucously depraved journey to the center of love. It shows its scars and it may charge you a scar for the ride, but the stories you get to tell if you make it back, they will be really something to behold.
5

Jun 08, 2014


A solid 5-star must-read, Narcisa is unique, thought provoking and drips with
seedy realism on every page. I am a Jonathan Shaw fan for life!

Narcisa: Our Lady Of Ashes is a gripping page turner of the highest magnitude.
Master storyteller, Jonathan Shaw takes us on a deliciously disturbing free fall into the very bowels of Hell, weaving a terrifying tapestry of black souls & broken minds, vice and unbridled destruction.

Narcisa makes Dante's Inferno look tame by comparison. I recommend this
A solid 5-star must-read, Narcisa is unique, thought provoking and drips with
seedy realism on every page. I am a Jonathan Shaw fan for life!

Narcisa: Our Lady Of Ashes is a gripping page turner of the highest magnitude.
Master storyteller, Jonathan Shaw takes us on a deliciously disturbing free fall into the very bowels of Hell, weaving a terrifying tapestry of black souls & broken minds, vice and unbridled destruction.

Narcisa makes Dante's Inferno look tame by comparison. I recommend this book to anyone who appreciates their literature pure and honest. ...more
5

Jul 20, 2017

UGH!!!
I tore thru this so quickly in 48 hours and then ran into the shower after finishing this book. I had to cleanse myself of all sins, to rejoice in my somewhat calm, loving, successful and steady normalcy of present life.
That being said, I have known, loved and LOST quite a few Narcisa's in my life.
You never forget them. You never stop caring. They are an ever present pain you feel in your heart.
I worked along side them for years in the ever pleasant "meat factory", forced to watch them UGH!!!
I tore thru this so quickly in 48 hours and then ran into the shower after finishing this book. I had to cleanse myself of all sins, to rejoice in my somewhat calm, loving, successful and steady normalcy of present life.
That being said, I have known, loved and LOST quite a few Narcisa's in my life.
You never forget them. You never stop caring. They are an ever present pain you feel in your heart.
I worked along side them for years in the ever pleasant "meat factory", forced to watch them down spiral while keeping my nose (and body) clean. I offered hugs, tidbits of sound advice and love.... only to be a witness to their constant climb and plummet down- and I mean down - deep into the depths of hell. Most never returned, and some are hanging on by the skin of their teeth.
If only they treated their body like a temple, if only they discovered their worth, if only they knew that people loved them, if only they could see their beauty, if only if only if only. It doesn't end.
If you ever worked in a "meat factory" (first off: you will know slang) , you already have a few images of the girls you have known, loved, lost to bad monkeys.
My images of Narcisa's are a kaleidoscope of memories I try to forget.
Some memories of my Narcisa's:
Pretty blonde girl falling asleep with her forehead pressed against the mirror while applying blush.
RIP Destiny
Gorgeous brunette falling asleep with a cigarette in her hand - some of her acrylic tips were missing. Man she looked like Natalie Portman in Black Swan when she danced. Lit up the room.
RIP Onyx
Pretty girl falling straight to the ground smashing her head open, blood everywhere, she was still laughing, high as a KITE.
Me, drunk - peering into face of a pretty young blonde who probably had no idea where she was "You know you are loved by so many people right?"

This is the love story of dysfunctional addicts. This is the gritty reality of what is happening behind the scenes of the pretty girl with the bad monkey on her back, and the unhealthy asshole boyfriend who does whatever he can to keep her satiated while satisfying his own addiction.
This was exhausting, and I mean, mentally I am spent.
This book helped me get inside my narcisa's mind, I was also able to get inside their asshole boyfriends enabler mind, and all of it opened my eyes to just how DEEP their torment went.
It is desolate, hilarious, relentless, bat shit crazy, harrowing.
Don't walk into this book with a pretentious holier then thou pre-judgment. Really, save it for something that covers another topic. This is NOT the time to be snooty.
After this novel you will feel exhausted, battered, unclean, disgusting... and if you are able to write a book that provokes my raw honesty and vulnerability, which in turn forced me to write this testament of truth- you deserve 5 solid stars.
Thank you for sharing your story with us Mr. Shaw! Look forward to your next one!


(now accepting reccs for lighter pleasant reads LOL) ...more
1

Nov 28, 2014

First off, I would just like to thank HarperCollins (and the author if he happened to be involved) for sending me this ARC for an honest review through a goodreads giveaway.

The premise on the back of the book is probably the most action packed part of this story- it promises the reader a kick-ass story about a "motorcycle-riding, nomadic outlaw poet" and a "crack-smoking philosopher prostitute". This I feel is very misleading. The beginning of the book grabbed my attention in an instant with the First off, I would just like to thank HarperCollins (and the author if he happened to be involved) for sending me this ARC for an honest review through a goodreads giveaway.

The premise on the back of the book is probably the most action packed part of this story- it promises the reader a kick-ass story about a "motorcycle-riding, nomadic outlaw poet" and a "crack-smoking philosopher prostitute". This I feel is very misleading. The beginning of the book grabbed my attention in an instant with the very first line "In Tibetan myth, the Dakini embodies the spirit of female wrath and fury..." (1). I wish more then anything that the author had built up on this at various points in the story instead of dragging along a one-sided abusive relationship, that at points, had me close to putting this book down. The thing that kept me reading, was the fun I had analyzing the behaviors of the two main characters- but even this was very sad. Speaking of the main characters, the two "protagonists" of the story were very flat, and do not within 600+ pages develop or learn anything from any obstacles that they have gone through. More specifically, Ignacio, or more commonly known by Narcisa as "Cigano", never seems to learn his lesson. No matter how terrible Narcisa's treatment is to him, he keeps rewarding her with such things as TV and money to buy her designer clothes that she constantly destroys; but at the same time, he is emotionally abusive. There was a scene in this book where the narrator told this sixteen year old girl that she could not stay at his apartment as a friend, and that he was kicking her out because she was not having sex with him. This was while she was trying to sober up, the worst part was that this forty year old man was having sexual activity with someone not in their right state of mind. He also seems to egg her on, no matter what she's saying or doing. In one scene, Narcisa and Cigano are out in public, and just because he got her the wrong gum color, she stripped right in the middle of the street- which he seemed to condone.
Not to mention the inconsistency throughout this book also irks me to no end. One minute Cigano is talking about how Narcisa is only ever silent when the TV is on, and the next minute he's talking about how she hates the TV.
Also, was there even a plot? Was Cigano attempting to "help" Narcisa the plot? I'm wondering this because he was constantly talking about how great it was to be clean and sober at every given moment. If this is so, it is weak. When a reader can not even decipher what the plot is, that is a bad sign.
While we're on the topic of confusion, were the characters supposed to be anti-hero? Cause if so, they were written in a pretty positive light despite their actions. Let me just say, I'm not exactly thrilled by this.
I didn't feel like I took very much from this book as a whole. It could have had potential if 400+ pages had been taken out. The very beginning and the last part were the best (and most important) parts in the story, all that in the middle made me want to scream in some sort of rage and pull my hair out of my head if you want me to be brutally honest. I'm sorry, but all of those parts could have easily been cut out.
Overall, not my favorite book of all time, but the psychology behind this book is fascinating and the beginning and last chapter were splendid. Overall, 1.5 stars out of 5. ...more
5

Jul 15, 2017

Wow, this book is one hell of a wild ride, pulling you into the adventures of two people with different addictions. Being addicted to drugs is bad enough, but being addicted to another person is a recipe for disaster. Mr. Shaw's style of writing really brings this book to life. It's an in-your-face narrative about drugs, inner demons, self destruction, obsession, salvation, and love. It invokes so many different emotions with every turn of the page, and I loved every moment of it. Well written, Wow, this book is one hell of a wild ride, pulling you into the adventures of two people with different addictions. Being addicted to drugs is bad enough, but being addicted to another person is a recipe for disaster. Mr. Shaw's style of writing really brings this book to life. It's an in-your-face narrative about drugs, inner demons, self destruction, obsession, salvation, and love. It invokes so many different emotions with every turn of the page, and I loved every moment of it. Well written, great plot, and excellent characters. I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. ...more
5

Mar 28, 2015

Wow - a view into a world completely different than my own. Fantastic storytelling.
3

Jun 14, 2015

Shaw is an excellent writer but the subject, whoa. Mostly disturbing so I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone. Yet some of the writing was so beautiful and evocative that I kept with it.
5

Jun 11, 2014

Jonathan Shaw's Narcisa: Our Lady of Ashes, withholds a bizarre and twisted love story that only Jonathan himself, could pull off. He has the mind of Kerouac, with the slang of Bukowski. One of my favorite books, and one of my favorite writers. Unforgettable.
5

Jul 03, 2010

Astonishing new voice in the english language. I was amazed that what is, essentially, a single-subject book could hold my interest so totally. Couldn't wait to find out what happens to these two extraordinary characters. Now I understand why any available copies are pricey - and I can't wait to see what Jonathan Shaw writes next!
1

Mar 21, 2016

This is one of the most overrated, worst books I ever read. It is almost 600 pgs
of the same scenario over & over & over. I hope I never hear or read the phrase "Ha! Chigano!" again. I will never believe anyone even likes this book, much less recommends it. He could have written it in 10 pgs or less.
5

Apr 05, 2014

Narcisa is invigorating, arresting, intoxicatingly REAL, transporting an unexpecting voyeur to a pleasurable nightmarish landscape....fiercely accurate and unstoppably rigid in it's reflection, although seemingly current with everchanging viscious tides, witnessing painful beauty in its surreal focus of recognition. Narcisa is a champion of tragedy, yet still oddly, seethingly charming in it's telling...
5

Jun 07, 2014

Jonathan Shaw is a real writer who doesn't intend to be anyone but who he is. Reading his book Narcisa: Our Lady of
Ashes I could feel his intense persona on each page and in each character.
This dark tale drags us to a world which could be a common place for me, but instead it holds our attention for being surprisingly about a love story. Love and addiction. Cigano and Narcisa living a tale of the bright and the dark side of the moon in one impossible eclipse.
One of my favorite book. This Jonathan Shaw is a real writer who doesn't intend to be anyone but who he is. Reading his book Narcisa: Our Lady of
Ashes I could feel his intense persona on each page and in each character.
This dark tale drags us to a world which could be a common place for me, but instead it holds our attention for being surprisingly about a love story. Love and addiction. Cigano and Narcisa living a tale of the bright and the dark side of the moon in one impossible eclipse.
One of my favorite book. This timeless story is for everyone or anyone who dares to plunge into darkness with his the eyes closed just to feel alive. ...more
5

Jul 16, 2015

“The man's Eros does not lead upward only but downward into the uncanny dark world of Hecate and Kali...the understanding possessed by this type of woman will be a guiding star to him in the darkness and seemingly unending mazes of life. ” Carl Jung

NARCISA – OUR LADY OF ASHES by Jonathan Shaw is a journey through the nightmarish and surreal terrain of mad love from which there is no happily ever after—it will only break your soul. Welcome to the age of the Kali Yuga, the age of iron, the dance “The man's Eros does not lead upward only but downward into the uncanny dark world of Hecate and Kali...the understanding possessed by this type of woman will be a guiding star to him in the darkness and seemingly unending mazes of life. ” Carl Jung

NARCISA – OUR LADY OF ASHES by Jonathan Shaw is a journey through the nightmarish and surreal terrain of mad love from which there is no happily ever after—it will only break your soul. Welcome to the age of the Kali Yuga, the age of iron, the dance of death, where illusions are revealed and redemption can be found in the most unlikely of places. Reading this book was like a sucker punch to the gut; like tumbling down of rabbit hole of secret scars, fervent prayers whispered in the dark, and of psychotic and psychedelic dreams. Beautiful, brutal, engrossing... I couldn't put the book down. ...more
4

Dec 03, 2014

I won this book from a Goodreads Giveaway. As a BIG Thank you to Author and Website i am going to give an honest review in my Own Opinion.

The Author is very descriptive.This book has a loud vulgar Tone.I rather enjoyed reading this book fowl mouthed and all.I have "E'sheet" caved into my brain.This book you could say is a twisted one side love story.This story takes place in Rio.Things seem far different from the world i am use to. Narcisa introduced slithering her way into this storyline.She is I won this book from a Goodreads Giveaway. As a BIG Thank you to Author and Website i am going to give an honest review in my Own Opinion.

The Author is very descriptive.This book has a loud vulgar Tone.I rather enjoyed reading this book fowl mouthed and all.I have "E'sheet" caved into my brain.This book you could say is a twisted one side love story.This story takes place in Rio.Things seem far different from the world i am use to. Narcisa introduced slithering her way into this storyline.She is imaged as a 16 yr old whore. An addict that addicted to anything she can get her filthy hands on.Plaged by a horrible existance she has been through a child most horrified nightmares.The girl has Major game. she knows how to execute a plan.She craves attention just like a drug of her choice. She reminds me of the Ketchup and Mustard girl from Youtube always babbling nonsense.
Ignacio Aka Cigano with a troubled past himself addicted to to drugs, Whores and a thieving.He crosses paths on his journey back to Rio. Blown away by this young girl. I guess you could say he just had to taste the water for himself.After spending a small amount of time with her he begins to fall. He later decided to kick his habits. He believes he can help her do the same.Through much abuse taken from her he find himself swolled up in the belly of this beast.I understand that love can make you do some pretty f'ed up things but i don't know if i could of taken her shit for so long.I would of bailed along time ago. Ignacio does find personal growth maybe the only good thing to come of this story.I would recommend a must read.It is a great book.I believe it is beautifully Written. It's always fun to see inside another's twisted mind. ...more
3

Oct 03, 2017

I really thought I was going to finish Narcisa. I was fresh off of "Memoirs of a Beatnik" by Diane DiPrima, an absolute eye opener for a Beat scholar like myself, and saw Narcisa in the long line of this style of literature. I got to about page 200 so it's not like I didn't read anything, and Shaw's prose especially at the beginning, or in his best passages, is truly lyrical in the best outsider tradition, and he's no doubt a poet of the highest caliber. The problem with "Narcisa" is that there I really thought I was going to finish Narcisa. I was fresh off of "Memoirs of a Beatnik" by Diane DiPrima, an absolute eye opener for a Beat scholar like myself, and saw Narcisa in the long line of this style of literature. I got to about page 200 so it's not like I didn't read anything, and Shaw's prose especially at the beginning, or in his best passages, is truly lyrical in the best outsider tradition, and he's no doubt a poet of the highest caliber. The problem with "Narcisa" is that there is no real arc to the story.

I'll admit it's possible that an arc appears but I made the mistake (?) of reading the reviews on Goodreads (I love reading reviews) and many of them said what I came to think of the novel, that if it was about 200 pages, or cut in a half, it would've served the art well. Even by page 200 the repetition of Narcisa's intolerably brutal and beautiful behavior became so repetitious that I really felt like I'd had enough, and that I was getting bored. The point of view was from a detached narrator, one of my favorite p.o.v.'s, but there were no subplots and only one other character that comes to mind (the dickless wonder), and while he's a fascinating study there didn't seem to be much of a narrative built around him.

To be honest, Narcisa deserves four or five stars but I can't in good conscience give a piece of literature that high a rank if I can't finish it. The artist in me wants to say that Shaw made this epic monstrosity 600 pages because only that many could hold the endless madness of Narcissa, and I tried looking at it that way, but the critic/editor in me (the reader?) couldn't help but feel that the bombast was ultimately hurting the art and would drive readers away. I understand it's an absolutely unique work of literature, and maybe one day I'll have the fortitude to finish it but that'll take a night and I don't have that in me right now.

I will say that if you are struggling with the violent nature of the battle of the sexes this novel is definitely for you. I read it on one particularly bad relationship day and it got me through, but that's a hard recommendation. ...more
4

Aug 21, 2017

This book is in my top 20 books of all time.
(I should try to compile such a list sometime, though I imagine it would be like trying to lick my own elbow.)

This is the 2nd time I read this book. The first time i finished it was some eight or so years ago, and I already thought then that it was GOOD. Overwhelming so. I was taken in by Shaw's explosive, streaming, steaming SEWAGE of raw text, images and emotions. My one complaint was-- why so long? Why dissect for 300 odd pages what could have been This book is in my top 20 books of all time.
(I should try to compile such a list sometime, though I imagine it would be like trying to lick my own elbow.)

This is the 2nd time I read this book. The first time i finished it was some eight or so years ago, and I already thought then that it was GOOD. Overwhelming so. I was taken in by Shaw's explosive, streaming, steaming SEWAGE of raw text, images and emotions. My one complaint was-- why so long? Why dissect for 300 odd pages what could have been covered in 150, that he was hooked on the greatest and most fearsome drug known to man, toxic unrequited love?

And now, this many odd years later, I read it again and i get that you NEED those extra hundreds of pages. Without them, it would be a mere 'description' of dependency. With those pages, it becomes an experience. You're experiencing it as the reader. You are reading the same thing, over and over---it is repackaged on every page, from a slightly different facet, a different day, a different angle, and you HOPE. This time, it will turn out different. Madness is repeating the same action over and over, hoping for a different result. You are sucked into Shaw's madness. You are reminded of your own madness. You are confronted by your own inability to let go of what you have repeated again and again, what you've stylized and rebranded for yourself, knowing deep inside that it was already a corpse. Yet you had no choice but to carry it. If you ever put it down, a part of your identity would now be compromised. No, IMPROVED, but you are afraid. So you go back again and again and again, hoping that THIS time, you are seeing it and describing it and experiencing it in a different way.

You never are though. That is addiction, self-hate, self-destruction, and the pathetic self-fulfilling prophesy of our own limited sad little narratives. That is clinging to something dead and in the past because what is in the future and unknown is even more terrifying than the comfortable old demons.

This is a 300 page suspended 3:08 AM nightsweat of a book, like every other nightsweat but with its own patina of newness on every page. it's honestly so awful and like so many awful things, you do not decide when you are done with it. It decides for you. ...more
2

Sep 19, 2017

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I've read this book before! It's like Lolita-meets-Tristessa and is so unnecessarily long. If Kerouac can manage to tell a similar tale in 90 pages, your editor should have helped you to do the same. I get that it's supposed to be a fucked up tale of codependency and the repeated nature of this "relationship" mirrors abusive situations, however this could have been demonstrated in half the amount of pages. I think Shaw has a promising voice, but this book annoyed me more than it enticed me.

I am I've read this book before! It's like Lolita-meets-Tristessa and is so unnecessarily long. If Kerouac can manage to tell a similar tale in 90 pages, your editor should have helped you to do the same. I get that it's supposed to be a fucked up tale of codependency and the repeated nature of this "relationship" mirrors abusive situations, however this could have been demonstrated in half the amount of pages. I think Shaw has a promising voice, but this book annoyed me more than it enticed me.

I am surprised that no one else has mentioned in their reviews (ok so I scanned, I apologize if someone else did mention this already), but it's a) hella problematic and b) definitely rape when Shaw describes Cigano having sex with Narcisa's passed out body. This happens not once, but casually throughout the book. That's fucked up. ...more

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