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Hating Olivia: A Love Story

Hating Olivia: A Love Story
Author: Mark SaFranko
ISBN 13: 9780061979194
ISBN 10: 61979198
Edition: 1
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: 2010-11-16
Format: Paperback
Pages: 262
List Price: $13.99

Max Zajack's life is cheap rooms, dead-end jobs, and suicidal fantasies until he meets the alluring and mysterious Olivia Aphrodite, and everything goes to hell.

Max is a struggling musician and wannabe writer. His life is in a rut until one night, while playing a gig at a local club, he gazes out into the crowd and sees Olivia. Before long, they are sharing a bed and host of dark vices that begin to consume them. Their love turns toxic, sending them spiraling downward toward the inevitable. Violently romantic, viscerally honest, Hating Olivia is the story of two loners whose obsessive love brings them to the edge of destruction.

Publishers Weekly

SaFranko (Lounge Lizard) sets out to find new ways to write about sex, but finds little help from his sketched-in protagonist, Max Zajack, an aspiring writer in 1970s New Jersey with a blue-collar chip on his shoulder. As Max bounces from crappy job to crappy job, he writes a novel and woos Olivia, the June stand-in to his would-be Henry, and many pages are dedicated to overheated accounts of their carnal satisfaction. Max and Olivia twist each other into physical, then psychological knots, and their four years together are marked by fights that rise in intensity as the sexual pyrotechnics fade. Max's narration reads like a hodgepodge of Henry Miller's sexual ferocity and Charles Bukowski's self-satisfied scumminess, and is as content in awkwardness ("the flesh of her luscious melons bulging delicately") as it is in shades of purple ("We were to take the plunge together into the subsoil of raw concupiscence, from which both ecstasy and madness spring, and forgo the dusty, worthless upper strata of passionless habit and duty that most humans know"). Sexus it ain't. (Dec.)