Daily Archives: April 5, 2013

Review of ‘Vicious’, Plus an Interview with the Author Patricia Beykrat

Vicious by Patricia Beykrat

I’d like to introduce you guys to the author of this gorgeous looking novella, ‘Vicious’.  Her name’s Patricia Beykrat, whom you may know as the blogger Madame de Pique.  Her novella is being released today (congratulations, Patricia!) and she was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about the book.  So here, for your delectation, is the interview, followed by my review of ‘Vicious: A Confession’, and lastly, the official book description.

Interview with the author

1. The setting for Vicious is the decadent Rome of nightclubs, 5 star hotels, upscale cars and country villas.  Which atmospheric qualities prompted you to choose this setting over other playgrounds of the rich?  Have you been to Rome yourself?
For a moribund character like Dante, Rome’s climate of eternity makes an irrefutable oxymoron to give prominence to his eventual death and actually reflect the inherent longing for immortality that more or less provoked it. Though I’ve never even set foot on Italian land, the idea of such a setting came natural to me after a period dedicated to musings which had my thoughts coagulate into coherent plans. There’s just something about Roman lifestyle as I encountered it in novels and memoirs, something so brisk and pensive, so full of vivid contrasts, that I was irrevocably convinced Dante would not gain verity in any other background. Call it a mere conjecture, but despite the city being scarcely depicted throughout ‘Vicious’, I felt mentions of it added a lot to the overall atmosphere. So Rome became a necessary presence.
2. Antiheroes are one of my favorite types of heroes and I think they can be harder to write than a moralistic, if flawed, hero.  Likeability factor is an issue, though I’m not sure Dante’s concerned with perception: he fully expects to be worshiped.  As the author, were you concerned readers wouldn’t like him in the conventional sense?  Or is he above this petty need because he considers himself superior?  
Dante’s what I see as the potential of all humankind for a plethora of reasons. He’s, to say, exponential for most men in the given circumstances, though his confessions are not meant to reassemble any ordinary ones while still succeeding to sound familiar. I projected him to incorporate a concept-being readers could abhor, hate or misunderstand at their own will but who could nonetheless exert some fascination. To what extent I fulfilled my goal only the audience can decide.
3. At his essence, Dante is an hedonic egoist.  Although he has no supernatural abilities, he reminded me of a Lestat or a Lucifer, a fallen angel who likens himself to a golden god. Except, unlike those characters, he has to deal with the trappings of mortality. What inspired you to write his story?
At the time ‘Vicious’ emerged as a distinct project, I had long been flirting with the idea of creating a character who can incorporate wealth, brilliance, beauty and tragedy in a less common manner. It was merely a matter of proper words to set it in a visible form and my ideal voice of a smart histrionic hero with an incurable penchant for drama developed a tone.

My Review of ‘Vicious’

The bucket list, the words pride or ignorance never allowed you to say, the cliched desiderata preceding THE END—these are a comfort to the dying.  But for Dante Serafino, a self-described “paradigm of the mythological narcissist,” comfort lies elsewhere.

As an hedonic ideal, he is a Byronic antihero, as primitive as he is urbane.  He is also infinitely superior to the lambs who smugly abide by social order; lambs, he later points out, who experience the chemical high of watching the modern day sinners of Gomorrah fall down.  And who, Dante begins to suggest, is immoral ?

The thing is though, Dante’s journey has very little to do with immorality because at the heart of ‘Vicious’ is deeper tangle: immortality in immorality versus mortality in morality.  Put simply: if you’re alive, you must dare to live in whichever manner ameliorates your inevitability.  Or at least that’s integral to Dante’s argument.  The account proffered is his alone, intimate and self-satisfied.  From his taunting introduction, the reader is invited to follow the exploits, past and present, leading to his last hurrah.  It is a story of spiraling, the bisexual playboy and young financial wunderkind forced to contemplate his existence when I suspect he’d rather be partying.  It’s Dante’s in memorium of the self.

By the end of his tale, you might not like him, you might even loathe him, but his uncommonness transfixes.  And liking him would be beside the point.  It’s the singularity of voice that makes ‘Vicious’ a riveting morsel of novella.  After journeying with him, I was eager to see how he’d bow out, and Ms. Beykrat did not disappoint. ‘Vicious’ has a raw quality about it; imbued within is an ability to both attract and repel a reader. As a psychological thriller, it focuses on the age-old theme of man against self. And perhaps man for himself. I definitely recommend it for readers who enjoy antiheroes, intimate narratives predominated by self-reflection, and dark themes.  If that sounds like your kind of thing . . .

Vicious is available at the following retailers:



Book Description

Dante blames his qualities for his flaws, envisions himself as a child of vice and plunges into a spiral of sex and alcohol (because humans are “so predictably clichéd”) only to forget he was willing to sacrifice everything for them. Young, rich and a prodigious genius, with a penchant for luxury… he ultimately dies, not before delivering his swan-song, a story of decay, sensuality and self-destruction meant to conquer immortality.