(USA • Akashic Books • 1997)
‘Paradoxia’ is by Lydia Lunch, a musician, writer, and photographer known for her work in the Cinema of Transgression, and the No Wave scene. Always controversial, Lunch’s fiercely nihilistic vision has involved many solo and collaborative works over nearly forty years, using a wealth of media. For more insight into Lydia’s world view, we thoroughly recommend V. Vale’s book ‘Lydia Lunch: Interviews’ (RE/Search, 2012).
I’d stalk bars, clubs, bookstores, public parks and the Emergency Room. Seeking in lost men a place to lose myself. Searching for a pocket of weakness. Looking for the ‘sweet spot’, a small tear in the psychic fabric to feast upon. To hide inside. A place to disappear in, manifesting myself in a multiplicity of personalities which all shared the same goal. To trick the next john into relinquishing his moral, financial, spiritual or physical guard, so that no matter what the outcome, I won. I got what I wanted. Whether it was money, conversation, drama – or sex.”
‘Paradoxia’ is a slim book (162 pages), yet frantically overflows with brutally unsentimental misdeeds, as Lunch spews out another slice of her patented ‘psychosexual misadventures’. Spanning spells in New York, London, and New Orleans, ‘Paradoxia’ (titled after one of Krafft-Ebing’s four categories of deviance – this one due to sexual desire at the wrong time of life, for example childhood) is a troubling memoir indeed, and definitely not for the faint-hearted. Charging her psychosexual deviance to her beginnings as a childhood victim of abuse, Lunch depicts depraved episodes including thieving, prostitution, fucking 14-year-old boys, meeting an apparent cannibal, and other decidedly transgressive experimentation.
New York City did not corrupt me … I was drawn to it because I had already been corrupted.”
While certainly not the greatest writer from a technical perspective, Lunch’s writing is undoubtedly immediate, consistent, and bluntly to the point. Preferring to hit the reader over the head with her bleakly exhibitionist subject matter instead of wasting time with finesse, ‘Paradoxia’ cracks along at a fast pace, witnessing a raw celebration of decadence and devastation with a unique and malevolent style.