Independent Legions Publishing
May 15, 2018
reviewed by Brian James Lewis
Are you the kind of horror fan who wants things taken to the extreme? Skin peeled slowly and painfully from a live human body and eaten for the purpose of pleasure? Do you want to read a nightmare? If so, then NARAKA by award winning writer, Alessandro Manzetti was written just for you! For those who don’t understand the purpose of profanity, extreme sex, cannibalistic torture, and a horrifying look into the future-Please head on over to the world made by Disney where monsters sing songs, skeletons dance, and everybody lives happily ever after. None of that ridiculous shit happens in books written by Manzetti and I’m not here to apologize. Got that? Good. Now let’s all go to Hell!
Seriously, NARAKA is a Hindu and Buddhist word meaning a hell. In these religious practices there are believed to be multiple hells that we must journey through to complete our life cycle. This intense book takes us through some of these hells and introduces us to the idea of the Moon as a prison for criminals. Much like the current legal system in this country, the rules are complicated and getting killed doesn’t mean you’ll stay that way. This is especially true for more elite criminals who are true professionals at killing. Many have extreme fetishes that boost up their standing in hell.
NARAKA makes me think of writings by William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, and Gregory Corso to name a few. Manzetti even drops a cool nod (check out page 86) to Ginsberg’s iconic poem HOWL, a piece of writing so controversial that arrests were made and the books seized by police. The result was a U.S. Supreme Court hearing to answer the question of whether or not the book was obscene. What serious writer wouldn’t want to have that effect on society’s precarious norms? Especially a fellow poet? The Burroughs effect is in the overall feeling one gets from reading NARAKA. It’s like dropping way too much acid, followed by getting drunk to a level near alcohol poisoning, while watching bad pornography and getting raped in a slaughter house. Add a dash of Corso for the fiery flames with balls-out anger, and you’ve got some building blocks for this book.
Everybody dies, except the very rich
Human beings are sliced up and rendered
The final product is packed in cans
and shipped out, labelled as “chicken”
From the Moon which has become a
penitentiary farm, and vivisectionist’s dream
Whores are destroyed from the inside out
with specialized tools & humans are eaten alive
Life gets zero respect-Big money rules
There are many ways for readers to take in this powerful book. They could be offended and run away screaming, or look at it in a more constructive fashion. I see NARAKA as a warning to us from Manzetti. He combines timeless religions with ancient traditions such as cannibalism, prostitution, gangs/tribes, and violence. Since this book shows us a possible future, these things are done in a larger hi-tech way. Without a doubt, it is horrible and dehumanizing, but isn’t that what we’re doing to ourselves or having done to us by those in power? There is no middle class anymore in most countries. There is just the struggling lower class majority and the rich minority who hold most of the money and power in their ugly little hands. So characters like “Big Blue, Ute Mobius, the white monkeys, Blaster Miller, and Kiki and are good representations of characters in the struggle to continue living the way they want to.
Humans are ruining the Earth and its natural resources in their quest for more petroleum products and money. This is a fact that has hardened from being a concept held by “tree hugging hippies in tie-dyed shirts” into reality. We will eventually destroy this world we call home until the only resource available is ourselves. Our bodies will become a sources of food, enjoyment in new forms of sex, and the only ones who will be able to continue their existence are the rich, who can afford regeneration and a few very smart criminals. Once Earth is destroyed there will have to be other places to live and exist. Prisons, sex houses, Hells-All NARAKA.
I have put a lot of time, over a month actually, into reading this book and writing a review of it. A lot of thinking and time spent enveloped in the Hells of NARAKA. “Is it good?” Friends have asked me. “How many stars should we rate it?” My honest answer is, I don’t know. This is not the kind of book you can easily do that with. We are talking about severe dystopias. These are hells and many of the main characters are criminals, sexual deviants, and computers programmed to kill and use whatever they find. I think that the best answer I can give is that NARAKA is something each reader has to experience for themselves. You need to travel the dirty streets of Paris 5 and the stone corridors of The New Belmarsh Penitentiary located a short space-hop from Earth in our Moon, and hear the roar of the slicer as it gets ready for another victim.
Do you have the strength to, as Hunter S. Thompson put it, “Buy the ticket-Take the ride?” If you do, it’s time to step up and see the show. NARAKA is ready, now it’s your move…A revolutionary novel from a true master, Alessandro Manzetti. Available now from Independent Legions Publishing and your favorite booksellers. Step into madness today.