The Diary of a Rapist (1966)

Evan S. Connell

NYRB Classics

A rather harrowing first-person account of psychological disintegration and violence, as well as a precursor to more familiar texts like Taxi Driver (but without the ironic redemption at the end) and American Psycho (but without the irony period). Earl Summerfield is a low-level bureaucrat in San Francisco who divides his time between a). loathing his job; b). loathing his wife; c). loathing the moral decay of the nation; and d). fantasizing about making something of himself to end his overwhelming sense of powerlessness. Over the course of a year, we witness the narrator's increasing descent into psychosis and eventually violence. Unpleasant but effective. Of relevance to anyone interested in stories of psychotic descent and post-war disenchantment.

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