Pedram Navab - disturbing and provocative story of Tess, a third-year medical student whose compulsive desire to feel her patients’ pain leads her to destruct her own body by methods both horrific and creative

Without-Anesthesia

Pedram Navab, Without Anesthesia, Jaded Ibis Press, 2015.

“Dear Tess, we cut you up today.”  So ends and begins the disturbing and provocative story of Tess, a third-year medical student whose compulsive desire to feel her patients’ pain leads her to destruct her own body by methods both horrific and creative. In this highly original medical thriller, Tess’s narrative intersects with similarly obsessive characters. As a result, the distinctions between fiction and reality, between art and medicine, are called into question. Without Anesthesia spans time periods and settings — from 1920’s Hollywood to late 1990’s New York — and culminates in an ending that Alfred Hitchcock himself would approve.
“Vivid, grotesque and whip-smart.” – Rosalind Galt


Without Anesthesia is an original, sobering, and haunting visceral contemplation of love, anguish, morbidity, obsession, knowing and unknowability, the seen and the felt. The intense desire for intimacy and commune on the part of characters and readers evokes riveting anticipation and obsessive page-turning anxiety.” — Mariam Beevi Lam

“Take Without Anesthesia straight if you can; personally, I required a few shots of whiskey. But layered into this hallucinatory medical nightmare is a moving meditation on obsession and loss. Equally adept at slow-burning suspense and blindside revelation, Navab will keep you transfixed, whether you’re numbed or not.” –Lisa Lutz

Without Anesthesia mobilizes an astoundingly rich and varied body of discourses — film theory, philosophies of aesthetics, medical sciences ranging from psychiatry to cardiology, even a history of excrement — deploying them in ways that transform our ideas about what the detective narrative is and what it might become in the future.... Without Anesthesia gives us what has long been beloved about the most conventional, rewarding, and best of mystery novels: the desire to stay up late into the night and read so as to solve a puzzle that seems, at turns, within our grasp and then suddenly, once again, beyond it.” — Nicole Rizzuto


Without Anesthesia is a vivid, grotesque and whip-smart play with identity, where the simulations of appearance merge with the materialities of the body. Navab immerses the reader in the rich vocabularies of medicine and cinema; which is to say, the languages of the body’s beauty and decay, our obsessions and repulsions, life and death.” — Rosalind Galt

This novel takes you on more twists and turns than a ride through Malibu Canyon. Author Pedram Navab has a diverse professional and educational background (see bio) that gives you a truly unique experience. Without Anesthesia is an unpredictable story of explicit deviant behavior that will not allow you to put the book down till its final page.
Navab's novel reads like Tarantino's Pulp Fiction screenplay with multiple characters contributing to a macro story that is slowly unfolding before your eyes. It has a twist of epic proportions which makes it obvious to see that this novel will soon be adapted to hit the Big Screen. This read is highly recommended if you are a fan of Chuck Palahniuk's proprietary way of stretching the reality of what is to be considered social normality. You will equally appreciate Navab's depiction of manic, sadistic, bipolar characters that eerily reminds us that this fictional story may not be that far from the truth. -  jason cook  


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