Consumed – David Cronenberg

Thinking about my work this week, I realise that Cronenberg’s Consumed (2014), his first novel, is actually kinda pivotal. Two lovers connecting via Skype, the cannibalism of a French philosopher, gadget (camera) obsession, 3D printer recreation of the body via email instructions, Kim Jong-un.

See what I mean? No wonder I’m making Screen Used.

Sure, you could call it sub-Ballardian, but it’s just what he’s into, right?

Buy it here (or I got it for £3 in Fopp). Review here.


“Well, yes, when you no longer have any desire, you are dead. Even desire for a product, a consumer item, is better than no desire at all. Desire for a camera, for instance, even a cheap one, a tawdry one, is enough to keep death at bay.”

‘Was the iPhone a malevolent protean organism, the stem-cell phone, mocking him who had cameras with real physical shutters whose sound you couldn’t turn off?’

“We’re all photojournalists now. It’s no longer enough just to write.”

“That’s why we say that the only authentic literature of the modern era is the owner’s manual.” […] “Auto-flash without red-eye reduction. Set this mode for taking pictures without people, or if you want to shoot right away without the red-eye function.” She laughed that rich, husky laugh, and repeated, this time with great drama, “Set this mode for taking pictures without people.” A shake of the head, eyes now closed to fully feel the richness of the words. “What author of the past century has produced more provocative and poignant writing than that?”