“I must be cruel only to be kind” said Shakespeare in the Hamlet, and I can’t say something more true than this: kindess is just the other face of cruelty. The evil is the other side of good, but can you really tear them apart?
Being human, often, means surrend to our instincts and impulses, the vulgar and obscure ones, abandoning us to our condition of beastes.
And like animals, we live and we die, we are in this danse macabre without the possibility to stop.
So, shut up and dance. Till you’ll fall to the floor and embrace your darkest side.
Come to the dark side, we have books.
In cold blood – Truman Capote
Written over a period of 7 years, this novel is the first book that everyone thinks about when they have thoughts about darkness.
This is the story of the brutal murders in Kansas of a farmer named Herb Clutter, his wife and their two children and spends the early pages going back and forth between introducing the reader to the Clutter family and also to the two murderers, Perry Smith and Dick Hickock. By following the structure that Capote did he was able to keep the narrative tension high throughout the entire novel and, especially, make you think about that evil is in every form, even behind clear surfaces.
The bloody chamber – Angela Carter
Angela Carter is the queen of the feminist-postmodern horror fiction and in this collection of short stories gifts us with some of the most beautiful retelling of fairy tales that has been ever made: from the story titled like the collection (where we discover the dark side of marriage and sex) to the retelling of Little red riding hood (she sleeps with the wolf or kill him) and a creepy and deadly Snowhite (about rape and death). We can find an hymn to the dark side that albergates in our hearts, getting in touch with it without really concretize it.
Dangerous liaisons – Choderlos De Laclos
This is a very complex book: written in epistolary form, the two principal characters are the very incarnations of malice and they use it to humiliate others. Valmont shows us how the human being is only a box filled with obscure objects of desire and vices. There is no guilty, in a world where it’s always dark. Nothing matters than our desires and our darkness. And the end will be very deadly.
My friend Dahmer – Derf Backderf
Where the Evil born? I often give me this question and it’s hard to find an answer, a closing one. Backderf lived his school’s year with one of the personification of the evil: Jeffrey Dahmer. This graphic novel tells the high school years of Derf and Jeffrey, showing us the normal side of one of the most cruel serial killers in our history. To show us the light, we have to know well the dark and this is a real obscure darkness, without the possibility of a redemption. Death wishes and homicide are the main themes of this graphic novel, but there’s more: the continue research of ourselves and the starving that characterize us as young adults. But sometimes, wishes are bad. Really bad.
Death in Venice – Thomas Mann
In each heart there are unrequited desires, desires that hibernate for years only to awaken after the last days of summer have passed. While on vacation, aging writer Gustav von Aschenbach beholds the beauty of Tadzio, a teenage boy vacationing with his family. After this one look he is enthralled – and cursed – to follow that path which will lead to his self-destruction. A book about a dark side of certain human beings – like loving young boys – and about Eros and Thanatos. Because Evil, sometimes, is generated by Beauty. And Beauty is sure deadly most of the times.
The adversary – Emmanuel Carrère
Jean-Pierre Romand has a perfect family with his beautiful wife and his adorable children, to not talk about his beloved parents. He is a famous doctor in France and a specialist in his job; he has a lot of friends that love him and care about him.
What happens when one day he wakes up and sterminate his family killing the mone by one? By the marvellous Carrere, this is a piece of true-fiction (like In cold blood) that will question everything about being human and what pure evil is. Because sometimes the devil is in the details and the darkness, the evil is everywhere everyday, it’s trivial and this adversary often become an allay than an enemy.
Cosmopolis – Don De Lillo
Eric Parker is a multimilionaire bored by life; the book focuses in one day of his repetitive life, but what seems to be another quiet day, becomes a strange successions of events and oniric atmosphere that extract the evilness in Eric’s heart. A little novel about the darkest desires we have and one of the most malice character De Lillo has drawn.
The cement garden – Ian Mcewan
What’s the highest form of torbid and wrong love story? Yeah, exactly: incest. The two main characters of this novel are brother and sister but they have sexual desires for one to another and this will lead to a series of catastrophic events till the deadly end. Because even love has two faces and the dark one here it’s really dark, maybe the darkest of all.
The picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
We can’t talk of Death and Evil without naming Oscar Wilde and his unique novel; Dorian it’s the perfect summa of what is bad in our souls of poor human beings, what we will become if everyone would surrend to his darkest desires and vices and what evil friends can do to your life. Death, Beauty, Art and a lot of darkness will seduce you in this classical novel that changed modern literature forever.
Gone girl – Gillian Flynn
Amy and Nick are the perfect examples of how being human it’s not a confirm that we are all good and can’t exagerate. Althoug, humanity sometimes is like bestiality, worshipping our impulses and dark desires. This is a story about a girl that is missing, but it’s also about marriage and the shadows above it. Also, it’s about darkness, the obscurity that make us reach desires very far. And also, about the Evil, the purest form of it, that drive us to death.