A Cannibal Who Eats Himself
Exclusive interview with David Tal, author of Pleasure: A Short Story
By Andrew Moore, Contributing Writer
“A cannibal who eats himself.” That’s the short and blunt description David Tal offers for those who ask him what his latest short story (Pleasure: A Short Story) is about.
Of course, that’s not all the story’s about. But it’s that ending that’s been generating all the buzz on the bloggersphere. In fact, online communities who specialize in and follow the horror, gore, and thriller genres have been raving about David Tal’s latest work.
The Arbitrage Magazine recently got the chance to speak with our long time supporter, David Tal, about his rather unique taste in fiction. (Note: scroll down for interesting links.)
So, what made you want to write Pleasure?
It was actually a writing assignment I was given years ago in my university creative writing class. My prof asked the class to write a short story about a taboo, something that really disturbed you. Drawing a blank about what to write about, I settled on writing something that was really shocking or different. Cannibalism eventually came to mind, but that’s been done to death. So I came up with the idea of a cannibal who eats himself.
Well that’s definitely different, but I would think that it was a bit of a challenge to write about that believably.
Exactly. It was that challenge that drew me to writing this thing. How do you write a story that makes self cannibalism even plausible? Had to keep a light bulb by my desk to come up with something.
Between Adam’s condition and his childhood, you came up with an interesting concept to make it work.
For sure. I don’t want to give anything away for those who haven’t read it yet, but I really tried to focus the story on Adam’s psychological evolution. What’s it like growing up with his condition? With this father? How does that affect your head, your needs, and yes, even your kinks?
I think what some people might find challenging is Adam’s perspective of the world around him. One the surface he seems collected and professional, but underneath, he ranges the gambit from sexist to racist to nihilistic to everything in between. Are you afraid that some people may be offended by the story in some way?
To a point. But realistically, most works of fiction — throughout history — tackle subjects and use language that some might feel aren’t politically correct. Those who aren’t comfortable being exposed to these kinds of works should probably not bother reading Pleasure, and should instead stick to clutching their pearls and thinking about their children. In fairness, growing up in Toronto, Canada, has blessed me with a very multicultural group of friends that come from a bunch of different religions, races, genders, and orientations; most have read this story, and all have dug it in their own ways.
From what I understand, you’ve been sitting on this for a while. What made you want to publish it now?
Yeah, like I said, I wrote pleasure years ago, but never thought to really do anything with it. I’d share it with new friends every so often to freak them out. It’s definitely a departure from the kinds of topics I usually write about.
But over the years, enough of my friends have bugged me to publish it, and with self-publishing options now easier than ever, I figured why not. I never thought I’d get this level of reaction from it, that’s for sure.