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Scar Culture ("Rebel Inc") [Paperback]

Toni Davidson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 April 2000 "Rebel Inc"
Toni Davidson's Scar Culture, is a hugely acclaimed debut dealing with the controversial subjects of incest, child abuse and psychosexual healing. It appears destined to follow in the tradition of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest and The Dice Man as fiction that challenges the way we think about psychotherapy and dysfunctional sexuality. Shocking, thought-provoking, erotic, beautifully written, sharp-witted, and always riveting, Scar Culture marks the arrival of an extraordinary new voice.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Rebel inc.; New Ed edition (15 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841950009
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841950006
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 343,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Toni Davidson was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1965. His novel Scar Culture (Canongate, 1999), about child psychiatry and abuse, was published to international acclaim and translated into nine languages. It won an Scottish Arts Council Book Award.His short story collection, A Gradual Gathering of Lust (Canongate) was published in 2008.

Praise for Toni Davidson's writing

'The Gradual Gathering of Lust is a wonderful collection. It contains writing that often threatens to overwhelm the reader with explorative potential. Despite the facility with and evident love of language, the impression is given that words aren't all; they're merely the scrim on a concealed truth, enormous and ineffable and unutterable.' Guardian

On Scar Culture:

'Like William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, Scar Culture is a book not to read, but to reread' Sunday Herald 'Compelling... A novel of ideas that is also humanly compelling' Times Literary Supplement

'Toni Davidson's first novel is a clever, well-executed work' Independent on Sunday 'A macabre, disturbing and bitterly funny look at sexual abuse and psychiatry' Dazed and Confused

'As an account of pure, undiluted wickedness, it is hard to imagine this novel being bettered - but perhaps it is just a question of waiting. Davidson's novel is a deeply pessimistic work, but also a timely and necessary one.' Daily Telegraph

'Veering between the poetic and clinical, human and monstrous Scar Culture is a brave, highly filmic, and complex book displaying a real intelligence prepared to tackle taboo territory with imagination and subversive humour. It could well be destined for cult status.' Herald

'Toni Davidson's first novel is disturbingly mesmerising, complex in its construction and devastating' Observer

Product Description

Amazon Review

From the beginning of Toni Davidson's Scar Culture, the reader knows that something has gone wrong: the first person accounts which form the bulk of this book have been found "at the scene"'. The familiar frame of a "case" study, then, but who has done what to whom is the question driving this book--moving beyond the conventions of its psychiatric/criminal frame. In "Click" and "Fright" we are forced up against the more unsettling ways of living, or dying, through childhood--Scar Culture is part of the contemporary uncovering of the perversity of family life--as well as a few fragile metaphors of survival (if that is what they are). Click takes "head photos", recording the utter commotion of life with mother and father, Exit and Panic; Fright passes into a state of waiting for his brother to return, for his (dead) mother "to sing something, anything, into my ear". Curtis Sad's narrative starts to pull the book together, or further apart, in its presentation of the madness of a psychotherapy which becomes inseparable from the abuse it is supposed to cure. Within the tradition of a literary challenge to psychiatry, Scar Culture is taking its chance, too, from the perceived crisis of family and therapy in late 20th- century culture--it may become, in fact, a powerful contribution to that crisis.--Vicky Lebeau --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


* Toni Davidson's first novel is a clever, well-executed work. Independent on Sunday * Veering between the poetic and clinical, human and monstrous ScarCulture is a brave, highly filmic, and complex book displaying a realintelligence prepared to tackle taboo territory with imagination andsubversive humour. It could well be destined for cult status. The Herald * A macabre, disturbing and bitterly funny look at sexual abuse and psychiatry. Dazed and Confused * As an account of pure, undiluted wickedness, it is hard to imagine thisnovel being bettered - but perhaps it is just a question of waiting.Davidson's novel is a deeply pessimistic work, but also a timely andnecessary one. Daily Telegraph

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I heard the groans first, 17 whistling, chesty groans, the familiar rumble of my father's tones, seeping out the cracks in the wooden slats of the hut. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe everything you don't read 24 Sep 1999
By A Customer
SCAR CULTURE begins in the world of Click, only child of travellers-going-nowhere Panic and Exit, whose makeshift caravan home sets the scene for the disintegration of theit ill-considered coupling. Click absorbs the turmoil of an emotionally immature mother and enigmatic detached father afraid of the true nature of his love for his son, storing events as imaginary instamatic photos. Next comes the tale of Fright, taped sections bear witness to the mysterious death of his mother and the suffering of his beloved elder brother at the hands of their manically sadistic father. Jake knows the truth behind his mother's death and the danger of having that knowledge is soon manifest. These two threads are brought together when Click and Fright come under the auspices of psychitherapist Sad, a borderline sociopath incestuously involved with his younger sister Josie. Sad sees his two new patients as ideal to test his thoery of 'milieu therapy', psychological probing through recreation of the scenes of traumatic events. Enlisting the help of his other patients, Sad begins his ultimate experiment.... SCAR CULTURE is frequently and unnerving and disturbing read, but its strength is that these reactions are generated much more by what is not written than from the text itself. The book is however not unrelenting - there are frequent moments of touching beauty-in-the-heart-of-darkness and wicked humour. This is the first published novel by this author, and while it might be said that the style is not yet fully refined, the book does reveal a distnctive new voice. Remember you saw it here first!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This is a fantastic book, giving an insight into human psychi, and a dark and truly real presentation of the cruelty of child abuse. It works so well as it focusses as much upon the psychological aspect, as it does the physical or sexual from the perspective of the victim. It also gives a condemning picture of the world of psychiatry, a world bound by rules and regulative processes, but also shows the dangers of radical medlings with the human condition. A world where the insane run the institution. This is an absolutely fantastic and compelling read, which i would recommend to anyone who is not fazed by tales of cruelty.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I was amazed by this book. Being both a mental health practitioner as well as a survivor of physical abuse, I thought I would be appalled by this book, thought I would simply have a knee-jerk reaction to it because of who I am. But I didn't. The book didn't try to be a guidebook or a handbook for the victims of abuse - there are plenty of those - this was a fictional, satire using extremes to expose the normal which is so often sidelined. The book far from being sensational employs subtle and creative devices to record the horror and refuses to exploit the harrowing tale of the two victims. It tells it how it was for them - one persons experience is hardly going to be the same for another. Instead it creates an anti-hero, a research psychologist who goes too far trying to prove his own pet theories and forgets that his patients are human beings. This is a humane, difficult, but ultimately rewarding read.
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