Rob Hardin’s beautiful nightmare prose foresees a future ravaged w/sexual disconsolation, boys haunted by girls and girls lost in scarification. His muse is the nyc tenement rat delirious in conflicted greyscale psychosis. Inside the blood and heartbreak, he senses mystery. And he writes with the terror of love released.
It is the end of the century again: the stories in Distorture are elegiac, exquisite panels written in memory of certain decayed angels.
A woman is buried by a musician who has sworn to protect her. A narcoleptic is found, still dreaming, with cryptic symbols engraved into her back. In an elegant loft, a silver-haired man studies the torso of a comatose surfer, and the bodies of the two men are transformed into an intricate work of art. These are only a few of the tortuous stories of Rob Hardin, a veteran studio musician and stylist whose work has been called “impeccable” by Dennis Cooper.
Distorture is a fiercely modern book full of jeweled descriptions of violent eroticism. In Distorture, his first book of stories, Rob Hardin subverts nineteenth century romanticism and redefines the aesthetics of excess. Distorture splices the digital and the autumnal with the drive of the dark ambient music and the elegance of a late Liszt Sonata.
Distorture is a tingler — lushly perverse and lyrically demented.
For those who appreciate dark fiction and can accept the truly cutting edge, Rob Hardin’s cerebral Distorture will come as a revelation and cause for celebration.
Distorture is dedicated, in part, to Susan Walsh, a former Village Voice writer and go-go dancer who disappeared mysteriously. Her specter and those of other fallen angels haunt Rob Hardin’s baroque imagination. In a sense, they are a metaphor for the exquisitely depraved Loisaida we lost, the one we’ve been forced to grow out of by a patriarch mayor and a relentless real estate economy that leaves no margin for self-destructive dreamers and gloriously non-conformist fools: “I could only relive those polluted nights in memoriam; could only commemorate the times I last saw her alive; where passion swam, submerged in the past — which is, of course, the only thing that lasts.”
Rob Hardin has been lumped in with a bunch of snooze-inducing cyberhacks on the so-called ‘cutting edge’ of fiction. In fact, Rob is the bloody razor.
The real reason to pick up Distorture is not because it might define your subculture or tell you what it’s like on the streets. This is a volume of carefully wrought and revised, icepick-sharp prose. It’s the work of an author who invests a great measure of thought into his writing. This may not seem fashionable, but it’s what we need.