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Archive Book Review: Me and the Devil

Me and the Devil


Archive Book Review: Me and the Devil

I know this is going to sound really obvious, but this book was dark

Book Review Date: March 6th, 2013

Written by: Nick Tosches

Cover Copy

An aging New Yorker, a writer named Nick, feels life ebbing out of him. The world has gone to hell and Nick is so sick of it all that he can’t even have a glass of champagne. Then one night he meets a tantalizing young woman who agrees to come back to his apartment. Their encounter is the most strangely extraordinary of his life. Propelled by uncontrollable, primordial desires, he enters a new and unimagined dimensions of the forbidden and is filled with a sexual and spiritual ecstasy that is as intense as it is unholy.

Suddenly Nick’s senses are alive. He feels strong, unconquerable, beyond all inhibition and earthly morality. He indulges in life’s pleasures, pure and perverse, sublime and dangerous, from the delicate flavors of the perfect tomato to the fleshy beauty of a woman’s thigh. But Nick’s desire to sustain his rapture leads him to a madness and a darkness far greater and more dreadful than have ever ridden the demon mares of night. Writing in a lineage that includes Dante, William S. Burroughs, Charles Bukowski, Hubert Selby Jr., and Hunter S. Thompson, Nick Tosches may be America’s last real literary outlaw — a fearless, uncensorable seeker of our deepest secret truths and desires, from the basest to the most beautiful. Me and the Devil is outrageous, disturbing, and brilliant, a raw and blazing novel truly unlike any other.

Me and the Devil


I know this is going to sound really obvious, but this book was dark. I mean, I should have expected it, given the title. But clearly I didn’t realize how disturbing and dark it would be for me, since it took me the entire month of February to read. {Now, to be fair, I opened my Etsy shop this month and was quite busy during my normal free-reading time}. Regardless of my schedule, I found I had to take this one in little bits. The writing in some places was absolutely beautiful, and resonated with me. Other places had blunt, course language that jarred the rather soft-hearted me. So there was a real juxtaposition that I think fit well with the tone of the book. I will say, I am in love with the first two pages. Even after the whole book, they are still my favorite. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I’ll let y’all decide. It was a really interesting read. And the cover is freaking fantastic. Overall, I think this book was best summed up on the inside cover quote: “Read him at your peril.”

Me and the Devil

First Line

The past is a very bad place.

Favorite Lines 

  • “The past is a very bad place. It is not good to go there. Not alone. Not like this. “Take a deep breath.” They’re always telling me to take a deep breath. But that deep breath does not come.
  • Somewhere along the line, something went wrong.
  • These words were supposed to have led me to more words, to the beginning of what I cannot bring myself to tell.
  • The label on this bottle has a lot of words on it. Some of them are invisible: lies, truth, destiny, darkness, loss, shame, guilt, the sound and fury of the idiot’s every delusion, sickness unto death of body and of soul. And courage for the coward. I have read and retched them all, these hidden things upon that label.
  • I just stood there, transfixed, as a strange sort of horror overtook me; and breath must have stopped, or faltered, for the next heartbeat I felt came deep, hard, sudden, resounded within me, and shook my nerves with an inexplicable sense of vague, terrible presentiment.
  • If I could not bear the truth, I could at least close my eyes in the comfort of a lie.
  • Writing a book,” he said, “is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.
  • The older we get, the more the ghosts crowd and claim us. Death does not deter the dead from living on within us and around us. We are under their spell. The world becomes irrevocably haunted.
  • Nowhere but in truth will you find truth.
  • She had surrendered and given the heart of her youth to something far worse than I, who had taken her but for a single earthly night. She had chosen hell over heaven long before that night, and that night had not cured her.
  • It is always easier to see in another what we are uncomfortable with in ourselves.
  • I would go headlong into the promise of this new life. This was not a conscious decision. There was no thought or deliberation. The momentum of exhilaration simply took me.
  • I tried to banish the self-torment and self-doubt that I had sunk into.
  • Did my unconscious know what my conscious mind denied?
  • The new could never replace the old. This was true of all things.
  • I wanted what I wanted to be what she wanted.
  • It would have been worth it even for one night, even for one hour.
  • It’s hard to dissect or explain beauty or power. … Maybe if you can dissect or explain it, then it’s not beauty or power. Maybe true beauty and true power defy reason and intellect and explanation by their very nature.
  • I was living happily ever after right now, in this infinite moment, this present breath that was the sum of life’s promise, the only ever after we really had.
  • After so long in cold darkness of heart and soul, I had come once again to believe in love and happiness.
  • And the transformation from which the restoration of mind, body, and being grew, the miracle born of deathward desperation, was a rare and marvelous flowering. But it was a flowering not of the sun but of the moon. It was a flowering in the deep foreboding woods of night. A flowering not by spring rain but by the blood of those who, rambling lost in the springtime of their lives, chanced upon it and paused to wonder.
  • Some dreams were not without a sublime magic of their own.
  • What she was doing was trying, impossibly, desperately, to parse the inflections of feelings that lay outside the known grammar of feeling.
  • Like a rare and beautiful creature of an exotic vanishing species who knows no others like itself but only the drabber beings that flourish in multitude around it, she may have felt herself merely to be different, and to be isolated by that difference.
  • There are things that enter our minds that we wish never had. So deep-rooted is the opprobrium of them that we never reveal them, so that it might be to all but ourselves that they never occurred, that we would be incapable of such thoughts. And they never slip out, for our secreting of them is so very strong and the opprobrium beneath which we bury them alive is so heavy that they can never escape, an we are the only ones who can hear their desperate clawings and cries for freedom.
  • Our minds are not the random innocent victims of a breaking and entry by assailing demons in flight. Our minds are the wombs from which the demons seek the escape we disallow them.
  • Less than a month. Yet it seemed that we had lived through long seasons of the heart in those few weeks…
  • What if the new dimensions of this new existence allowed me to taste of heaven while at the same time consigned me more deeply to the unexplored regions of the private hell that had darkened and defined my old life?
  • A thousand things I might say whirled, sped, crashed through my mind.
  • More sweet truth with the peach pit of a lie at its center.
  • …as if we were two souls merged and lingering for a single infinite breath.
  • You have to know the prison before you can break out of it.
  • We are the breakers of our own hearts.
  • What really scares me is that this is the tunnel, this is the long dark passage. This is it now.
  • Maybe this was because it served as a warning sign for the hidden hazards that lay ahead, on the ground that, no matter how well traveled, remained ever treacherous.
  • For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
  • Some things can not be captured and conveyed.
  • Did I any longer know the truth? I was not sure. I was not sure of anything anymore: of what was real and what was not. All I knew for sure was the terrible feeling that I had passed through a state of bliss and was coming out the other side.
  • But the demons and I would sit together now and drink.
  • Remembrance is a derelict, wretched, and infested broom closet in which almost all that is worth remembering, almost all that we wish we could recall, is lost and irretrievable amid the haunted litter of what we wish we could forget.
  • The mind is a lugubrious, malfunctioning instrument of self-torment, fear, and ghosts.
  • …an inspiration, a truth of sadness and joy dancing gently together in a way that almost brought to the eyes the tears, so unknown and so longed for, of happiness and sorrow commingled.
  • There is a sadness within me as vast and as deadly as the Eocene dusk…
  • I cannot dwell here, in the dark of me, alone. A dark enshrouded in dark.I wanted to know. But I did not want to know what I ended up knowing.
  • There could be no life where fear lurked.
  • Much of the pleasure of getting old is outliving one’s enemies.
  • I felt loneliness go through me like a breath that had nothing to do with breathing.
  • While feeling strong and good and free, as long as I was set on doing nothing but living, I also felt spent, world-weary, and drained by the very strange events of the past year and their repercussions.

Last Word

  • all

Reader, Author, Bookstagrammer, and Mom; Alexis runs Nerdy Post, a fandom artwork box as well as serves as chief editor and writer on Drop and Give me Nerdy.

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