Afflicted with schizophrenia, Tourette’s Syndrome and other mental illnesses, the prolific and gifted Jonathan Harnisch has transformed the harrowing raw material of his life into what he calls “transgressive fiction” in semi-autobiographical novels such as Jonathan Harnisch: An Alibiography and Living Colorful Beauty. With Second Alibi: The Banality of Life, he revisits the abrasive, triangular psychodrama of his brilliant, questing psychotic Ben Schreiber, Ben’s libertine alter-ego, Georgie Gust, and the sadistic temptress, Claudia Nesbitt, who torments them both, while also including a moving plea for understanding that stands apart from the disturbed fevers of his fiction.
“This is a story, I hope, about my coming to enlightenment,” Harnisch writes, and in that vein he enlightens us, too, about the fantastic terrors of schizophrenia: “What this life is like with the ups and the downs, the confusion, the love and the hate; the black and the white.” He tells us about his moods abruptly shifting 25 times in an hour, his suicide attempts and addictions, the grim realities of sleep deprivation and the fear that his beloved wife has been reading his mind.
Second Alibi toggles unpredictably between semi-coherent rage (Harnisch says he often writes when symptomatic) and cool detachment, and it deploys several forms: Harnisch’s sexually-charged fiction (Claudia is “a slow-moving serpent with a tongue of fire and the ass of a bombshell”); a 106-page screenplay featuring dialogues between Ben and his old antagonists, and with his life-saving therapist, “Dr. C”; self-lacerating entries from “Georgie Gust’s” 2005 diary, and the author’s clear explanations of his condition, apparently written at moments when his symptoms have subsided.
**Due to content of a sexually explicit nature, this book is recommended for a mature audience only.**
Recent Praise for Second Alibi: The Banality of Life:
“At times, Harnisch is energized by the very power of his illness. “The mind and the sickness is all so sublime,” he writes, “the heart of living, colorful beauty.” But in his most lucid moments, this brave and eloquent writer struggles mightily to escape the dark woods of madness: “As always, my journey continues, on and on.” — BlueInk Review
“This story is now shedding light on the experiences of schizophrenics in a language that the non-sufferer can understand.” – From Worldnews Network
“Harnisch’s sense of the inner machinations of human experience spring into life through the text.” – From WOWK 13 News, W.Va, WV
“My brain was spinning by the end. It’s brilliant.” – From Editor, Second Alibi: The Banality of Life
“Second Alibi provides an honest window into the “hollow stuff.” Harnisch is at his best, though, when he leaves his inner critic behind and allows his creativity to color the world around him.” — Foreword Reviews
About the Author:
Jonathan Harnisch is a producer, filmmaker, fine artist, musician and published author. He has been diagnosed with several mental illnesses from schizoaffective disorder to Tourette’s syndrome; playfully, he dubs himself the “King of Mental Illness.” Jonathan holds myriad accolades, and his works captivate the attention of those who experience it. Manic-toned scripts with parallel lives, masochistic tendencies in sexual escapades, and disturbing clarities embellished with addiction, fetish, lust, and love, are just a taste of themes found in Jonathan’s transgressive literature. Conversely, his award-winning films capture the ironies of life, love, self-acceptance, tragedy and fantasy. Jonathan’s art evokes laughter and shock, elation and sadness, but overall forces you to step back and question your own version of reality.
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