Review: Seeing Double by Karen Runge

Mind-rape is perhaps the most fitting description of this book. Ms. Runge holds nothing back as she walks the line between poetry and pornography. (I was reminded of “Heat” by Denis Johnson – “…this exhaustion mutilated to resemble passion…”) Here we explore the haunted nature of lust, focused at a remove through a desperate lens of desensitization. We plumb the depths of depravity, the extremes of pleasure and pain, and the shadowed realm in between.

Here is illustrated the twisting pathologies, the dark rationalizations, the addiction of the flesh – sadism, masochism, and the personas we split ourselves into in order to push past our perceived limits. There is a fair amount of body horror displayed (the physical), but the sense of terror generated (the intangible) lies in the psychology of this perverse, predatory love triangle. The gamesmanship, the urging on of one another’s darkest inclinations, the power-play.

This is a hard read, and I don’t mean that in the sense of narrative flow or development, I mean that some of these scenes are so arresting you will find yourself putting the book down from time to time in order to collect yourself. Ms. Runge has hit a truly sensitive nerve here, something not for the squeamish. And I am once again impressed by the team at Grey Matter Press for having added another triumph to their exciting catalog. Highly recommended.


Review Written by W.J. Renehan.


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