Alex Austin is nearing thirty; a self-confessed fake, charlatan, degenerate and – worst of all – a failed poet, Alex’s life has become a meaningless sequence of bad habits and poor decisions. He ekes out a living doing a job that makes him feel dirty and ashamed. His only friend, JB – the developmentally arrested offspring of two famous psychologists – is just as broken as he is.
He’s emotionally uninvestable: incapable of experiencing pleasure or joy without resorting to unhealthy extremes, Alex’s days are divided between sofa-mining and grief-surfing; shiftily rummaging down the backs of display model couches for fallen coins and notes, and cynically manipulating strangers’ grief for his own depraved gratification.
As his self-destructive behaviour escalates and his self-loathing deepens, Alex is relentlessly, savagely cross-examined and berated by the voice of his own conscience, which speaks to him in the sneering, righteous tones of a retired TV news show host. When Edie – a former grief conquest, now wise to his scam – shows up out of his sordid past, he’s not sure if she’s here to save him or destroy him, and he can’t decide which is the more terrifying prospect.
Anhedonia is a darkly comic study of the way human beings fetishise death; a story about the struggle to find meaning in the disconnected jumble of reality TV, deodorant ads and celebrity murderers; a tribute to the best of our culture and an indictment of the worst.
Edited by C Z Hazard, Cover by Jay Heath
“I like my heroes bright and heroic”
Five Star Review on Amazon By Jeremy Hartwick
Some books I read as a way to pass time in between other things. Some books I pick up and find myself unable to put back down. Anhedonia fell into the second category. Let me lead by saying that this is not my usual book genre. I stick mostly to fantasy novels ala Lord of the Rings or the Last Unicorn. I like my heroes bright and heroic, my settings fantastic, and I like lots of magic. This book offered me none of those things. Despite this, I would find myself pulling the old “just one more chapter before I go to sleep” thing which we all know means I woke up the next morning with my e-reader on my chest because I just kept reading. I do not want to say much about the plot or the characters that isn’t already said in the official summary because I do not want to give anything away. What I will say is that the author made me extremely interested in and concerned for the fate of a person that I really shouldn’t like. I think the best way to describe the characters, and explain why cared what happened to them, is just that they were extremely believable. They are flawed, messed up people. Do they make themselves better? Do they even try? Well I guess if you want to know those answers you’ll have to read the book as I did. It will be time well spent.
About the Author
Too antisocial for social media. Writer, performance poet and humanoid slave to two feline overlords. Author of ‘Anhedonia’ & ‘Over Glassy Horizons’.