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4.0 out of 5 stars
Fassbinder would have been fascinated, 3 July 2013
I bought this because of the title: Poet of Death. The story of Mr Unterweger's life is a depressing one. It is perhaps not very surprising that he became a criminal given his upbringing by a prostitute waitress mother and violent drunken grandfather. Before long he has strangled a teenage girl. He goes to jail. He discovers he has literary talent. His writing is published. He is adored by intellectuals. He is released from jail. He becomes a successful author out of sheer ego: a refusal to be destroyed. Instead, a determination to be the one who does the destroying. He appears on television. He wears a white suit and ostentatious jewellery. He displays his prison tattoos in style magazines. He is highly promiscuous. But by the end things have become desperate and pathetic. He runs out of road. His writing earns him less and less money. And his persistent weakness for murdering prostitutes results in his arrest by the police. He commits suicide in his jail cell, no option left other than self-cancellation. Fassbinder would have been fascinated.