Read Hating Olivia: A Love Story by Mark SaFranko Online


“A book of quiet horrors and beautifully expressed longing. . . . SaFranko’s prose is precise, flawless, and the work of a man who truly loves and understands great writing.” —Tony O'Neill, author of Sick City and Down and Out on Murder Mile “SaFranko writes from the heart, and the balls, crafting a furious and passionate piece of work that is entirely his own, with some s“A book of quiet horrors and beautifully expressed longing. . . . SaFranko’s prose is precise, flawless, and the work of a man who truly loves and understands great writing.” —Tony O'Neill, author of Sick City and Down and Out on Murder Mile “SaFranko writes from the heart, and the balls, crafting a furious and passionate piece of work that is entirely his own, with some scenes that would make even Bukowski blush.” —Susan Tomaselli, editor of Dogmatika.comHating Olivia is acclaimed underground author Mark SaFranko’s darkly twisted story of two people’s descent into sex, obsession, and mutual destruction. A gritty confessional tale, Hating Olivia is sure to appeal to fans of Charles Bukowski, John Fante, and Huburt Selby, Jr....

Title : Hating Olivia: A Love Story
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780061979194
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Hating Olivia: A Love Story Reviews

  • Hosho
    2019-01-26 04:03

    Poetic and touching in such unexpected ways, SaFranko's HATING OLIVIA breezes through the fires and fractures of that great white unknown: a new love. Having long been partial to the misanthropic-artist-vs.-the-world blueprint, before even cracking the cover this book was already working for me. What surprised me was the effortless and entertaining prose--the story winding and writhing around the hard-scrabble daydreams and horrors. I'd blow through pages at a furious clip, always reluctant to close the book--even when some damn thing needed doing! And that is the first, best, and most compelling measure of a book--do you want to keep reading? My answer, without pause, is "Hell yes." And when you think of your crazy exes (and you will), you'll thank SaFranko for reminding you that there were no easy reasons, no explanations, and nothing that mades any of whatever happened easier to understand--that we're all as lost and doomed as the next when it comes to the mystery. I'm already saving my pennies for GOD BLESS AMERICA. My only question for SaFranko is what ever happened to the sapphire ring? Maybe it will appear in some future novel? (which I, of course, will be buying)

  • Caleb Ross
    2019-01-23 03:57

    (this review originally appeared at Outsider Writers Collective)The first page of Mark SaFranko’s Hating Olivia mentions the narrator’s possible suicidal tendencies, which immediately associates this novel with so much self-indulgent, faux gutter dreck that has come before. So, considering that Hating Olivia not only dodges those preconceptions, but instills its susceptible characters with a well-crafted sense of empathy makes overcoming that initial hump all the more impressive.Hating Olivia presents a situation we’ve read many times before, that of the struggling writer eschewing traditional employment on the romantic ideal that he will sustain himself (mentally more than financially) by way of his prose. Sharing Max Zajack’s dream is his live-in, on-off girlfriend Olivia Aphrodite, who he lovely calls Livy. It becomes quickly apparent that the couple is more in love with the idea of writing than the act. Months pass without a single scribbled sentence, and ultimately the couple resort to what they consider the worst of all outcomes: they get jobs.Perhaps best appreciated by a writer rather than the casual reader, SaFranko’s story propels along with Zajack’s various writerly phases, from the finding of his voice (page 20) to the unexpected epiphany (pg 129), throughout, mentioning (re: paying homage to) writers who have come before him:“So like Bukowski entering the U.S Postal service, or Melville at the customs house, or Kafka and his nameless insurance company, I reported like an automaton to the front desk, to be inducted into the ranks of corporate America” (pg 76).Of particular note is the way SaFranko periodically embodies Henry Miller, particularly his Tropic of Cancer:“I’d had a few women in my life, but I was to learn something new about sex from Olivia Aphrodite (her true middle name). We were to take the plunge together into the subsoil of raw concupiscence, from which both ecstasy and madness spring, and forgo the dusty, worthless upper strata of passionless habit and duty that most humans know. I would come to live for fucking Livy. For the first time I knew what it was to truly bang a woman, to ram like a batter, to bury my body, obliterate my self, in the mysterious folds of a cunt. Like a devoted master of the Kama Sutra, I discovered the rude pleasure of enjoying the female in an infinite number of contortions, to forge onward when there was no juice left, to bludgeon myself into insensibility from the sheer act of fornication. We would finish our sessions in a state of complete and utter exhaustion, in a delirium, really, oblivious altogether to the outside world” (pgs 25-26).Hating Olivia wavers constantly on the verge of falling to a juvenile tale of romantic idealism and angst against the Corporate Machine, but SaFranko navigates those cliffs beautifully, always artfully rescuing and re-establishing the book to its deeper, emotional heart. I know a book is good when I’ve reached the end to realize that I’ve written hardly any notes. Hating Olivia escaped with barely a half page.

  • Brooke Bove
    2019-01-23 23:59

    I could have easily hated this book. It sets itself up for ridicule so easily. The setting is cliché. Reading the synopsis of the book elicits a groan and an eye roll. I think that the publisher could work on their marketing and jacket description some. But in the end, the look at a passionate, failed relationship is simple, good, and the characters are not completely flat. Max, as the paragraph on the back of the book tells us, is in a rut. He lives in a cockroach infested boarding house and works a manual labor job. But he has dreams and he has talent and genius. He just doesn’t ever get around to exhibiting them. The world is against him and on more than one occasion, he considers ending it all. Then he meets Olivia, and his life gets worse. There isn’t really a more trite or less interesting premise for a book than this. However, the book was free, and there’s a chance more books could come my way, so I took the plunge. Fifty pages in, I was hooked. Which is weird, because nothing ever happens in this book. It’s full of philosophy and dream-like descriptions, which is stuff I normally hate. The writing is good, if occasionally pretentious – it flows well, and for the most part, it did not distract me from the story. There is a lot of discussion of why things happen and almost no plot. Four years these two live together and nothing happens except craziness. Olivia can be sexy and fun, but she has a dark side. She’s mean, she’s manipulative, and after the first fight, each successive fight is the same. They’re on a downward spiral from almost the first week. Eventually and inevitably, things boil over and the ending you thought would happen happens.But I was strangely drawn to Max. I liked Max. I’m guilty myself of having dreams about writing or acting or traveling. I never follow through on these. Writing sporadic blog entries about what I read doesn’t count as writing – it counts as vanity. I am guilty of wallowing in pity – my life isn’t exactly how I dreamed it would be. I’m 33 years old and I have not really accomplished much – not compared to former dreams. I have some career prospects, and I’m almost done with law school, so I’m way ahead of Max in that area. I don’t wish to imply that I’m unhappy with my life – only that it took a different direction than originally planned. There’s a scene where Max finishes writing a novel. He leaned back in his chair and exhaled with a calming and quiet sense of accomplishment. Maybe something big would happen with it. Maybe nothing would happen. The point was that he finished something. He created something. He was no longer just talk and dreams. That was the moment that I really began to like Max. I was happy for him, and for the first time I was rooting for him. This is not a love story, as the title tells me it should be. There is no plot to speak of, and there is no real resolution. It’s not even an evaluation of a failed relationship. For me, this book is about contentment and accomplishment in spite of life’s craziness. Max is going to be ok. Little things mean a lot and the big things – even passionate, all-consuming love – end up meaning nothing.

  • Joseph Ridgwell
    2019-02-14 05:54

    One of the best books to come out of the new wave of american fiction, top drawer...

  • Jayme
    2019-02-17 06:06

    At the end, I hated Olivia too. And her whiny boyfriend protagonist.

  • Jim Ament
    2019-02-14 00:06

    Every book I read these days is an opportunity for me to evaluate writing styles. And when I think back on all the crime thrillers, suspense novels, and noir fiction that I’ve enjoyed over the years, it’s the punchy dialog, the brevity of words, and “the short declarative sentences,” as in reference to Hemingway, that I liked. This was often coupled with poetic prose that gave these books a contrasting feel—where one can get a sense of the author’s soul.I’ve only recently been introduced to authors John Fante and Charles Bukowski, and although their subjects are depressing, they’re style is somewhat similar. It’s unfair to say that Mark SaFranko’s Hating Olivia is exactly like them, but as Dan Fante, son of John Fante, said in the introduction, “Hating Olivia is fresh meat, a gift tied together with a bloodstained bow.”There’s another thing: Mr. SaFanko has written a “hundred short stories, fifty of them already in print. A box full of poetry and essays. And ten complete novels, eight of them yet to hit the bookshelves. A dozen plays, some produced in New York and others staged in Ireland. SaFranko writes songs too, a hundred and fifty so far.” So, unpublished old guy that I am, I’m intimidated before I’ve finished the introduction!One gets the sense of where the book is going early on. It’s written in the first person where the protagonist mostly tells the truth about himself. Max is a flawed character. He drinks and smokes too much, quits jobs because he’s bored or somebody pissed him off; debt and hitting the bars when he has a little cash is a way of life. He wants to be a writer, but he doesn’t write. He is obsessed with beautiful women, at least having sex with them. About one he said, “Like a beggar who covets the palace of the kingdom, I wanted what I couldn’t have....” Self-analyzing his general state of affairs, he says, “When I contemplated what a man had to endure in order to get along in this world, it turned my stomach. Nevertheless, an undefined guilt dogged me. Why was it I detested all things conventional and bourgeois? My head was in the clouds, for sure. Or up my ass, as my blue-collar old man liked to say...Worst of all...I never listened to anybody.”Note the style and the tone here: After visiting an astrologer who wanted his phone number so she could follow-up on getting paid, he writes, “I wrote it down. She saw me to the door. The street was as quiet as a morgue. As lots of people said, Brooklyn was a place for nonbelievers. And, as someone else wrote, it was only known by the dead.”Max meets Olivia in a bar. “We were to take the plunge together into the subsoil of raw concupiscence, from which both ecstasy and madness spring, and forgo the dusty, worthless upper strata of passionless habit and duty that most humans know. I would come to live for fucking Livy.” The reader knows that this "love story" is not going to go well. The title alone tells you that.He moves in with her. He’s not even sure who she really is, but he’s stuck. “I had the growing sensation of being caught, like a fish swimming blindly into a seine....” Olivia spends money they don’t have. Max see a shrink and self talks: “And what did I have to feel lousy about, after all. Wasn’t I merely the victim of my own laziness, my own ability to cope with the world as it was? And whose fault was that? Nobody ever asked me to think of myself as an “artist,” nobody had forced me at gunpoint into a ditch of debt. I was young. I was healthy. I could work. Most of my life lay before me—maybe....And, too, I had Olivia.”They have to get work because they can’t pay their bills. Max joins the corporate world and offers some interesting insights into its bureaucratic absurdities. (Since I came from that world, I could argue that it isn’t as bad as described everywhere, but I've been places where it is.) Max thinks about suffering and misery. He can’t take it. He quits. Max and Olivia fight—slammed doors, vile oaths, screaming an yelling, pots and dishes are thrown. Still, they go to bed and screw. The author writes some beautiful prose through this and speaks of the sheer misery of her god-awful beauty.They’re headed for another collapse of their finances. They talk of doom. We’re more than halfway through the book and I’m not going to spoil it with further descriptions. It’s not so much a happy or terrible ending as a reconciled one. The path to the end is very much worth reading. You get the sense—you hope—that, in spite of the obsession with Olivia, the poor choices, the degradation, Max is going to be okay. Yes, Hating Olivia is quite good. It grabs you. I poured through the book, but had to stop every once in a while to savor how the author put together a thought or an act. The writing is crisp and well organized. I enjoyed the book immensely because SaFranko told the story so well.When I read a book like this, I wonder if I could write like the author—a sign of admiration, it there ever was one. I didn’t live the kind of life depicted, but could I write it? Writers of crime thrillers never killed anybody (most, anyway), but they know how to put a good deal of murder and mayhem on paper—for example, one of my favorites, Elmore Leonard. Author Zadie Smith wrote, “You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no ‘writer’s lifestyle’. All that matters is what you leave on the page.” My as yet unpublished novel isn’t like Mr. SaFranko’s book. It’s more mainstream. But I think I’ll start with a short story—see where it goes....

  • Melissa Lee-Tammeus
    2019-02-20 03:09

    Disturbing tale of a love gone bad - very bad. It becomes blantanly clear early on that this story of two people - Livy and Max - are codependent on one another and it's not going to turn out well. But it also reminds us that some of those relationships we have had in our own past had red flags all over them too, but we paid no heed. Falling down the rabbit hole and realizing you need to get out, but having no will, means, or confidence to do so rings true with many and that is what this book is all about. Written from a male point of view of a tormented artist, we see not just the struggle of love but the struggle to make or break it in society and whether we really truly want to or not. It took me a bit of time to get into the book, but once I sunk my teeth in, I was hooked. Just like poor Max was with Olivia.

  • Paca (Caroline?)
    2019-01-30 23:59

    I read this because a friend (whose opinion I normally trust) told me it was great.It was, honestly, one of the worst books I've ever read. The only redeeming factor is that it was short.After the first fifty pages, I considered stopping. I did a cursory Google search, and I found that many people really loved the book and it was a borderline cult classic, so I kept reading. At times, I sincerely hoped that the book was a parody of an unintelligent, self-important jackoff. After reading the author's notes, I discovered that was probably not the case.The only real conclusion I could draw from reading this book was that Mark SaFranko has never had a female friend—his characters have all the depth and nuance of an airbrushed centerfold from the 80s. Kind of bummed I spent any time reading this, but at least it didn't take too long.

  • Meagan
    2019-01-24 02:59

    A decent book about a horrible relationship. If you're hoping this book will shed some light on why people do the f-ed up things that they do, it won't; It will only give you a clearer picture of just how f-ed up it is that they stay together. The language is pretty graphic and straightforward, especially concerning sex, the tense shifts are a little weird but understandable, but the book flows. It's a fairly quick and interesting read and though it ends on a high note it was a bit depressing to read. I'm definitely interested in seeing what else SaFranko has written now, though.

  • Adrienne Conley
    2019-01-24 07:17

    This book is hard to describe...I really liked it but it was so depressing and the characters are so tragic. The couple in the book just go through so much and through the whole book you keep wondering why are they even still together and torturing themselves. Makes you think twice about love and bad romances. The real question of the book is how do you know when to walk away? And when enough and enough?

  • John Zeck
    2019-01-21 04:03

    I picked up Hating Olivia in need of something in the worthy tradition of Charles Bukowski and wasn't disappointed. As long as we understand what we're getting into here, the tragic collision of maladjusted lovers against the backdrop of the New Jersey sixties, then enjoy, because SaFranko is a helluva writer.

  • Jennifer Hazlett
    2019-02-05 00:09

    I love chic-lit and it was interesting in comparison, to read a male author's interpretation of a dysfunctional relationship. I really enjoyed this book. Great story, gets deep into the crazy places in the mind that love can go.

  • Jack Goodstein
    2019-01-28 03:17

    SaFranko's read too much Henry Miller.

  • Brittany
    2019-01-23 23:06

    This is definitely not a feel-good book, but it is beautifully written and gives a realistic glimpse into the evolution of a co-dependent, destructive relationship.

  • Anna
    2019-02-10 02:09

    too dark, didn't like the vibe. quit reading.

  • Christine
    2019-02-13 06:11

    Not sure why I finished this book. In the end, I also hated Olivia. Max and the book.

  • The Sunday Book Review
    2019-02-15 04:50

    Rating: 2 out of 3 starsHating Olivia is not a conventional novel. It's not all wine and roses. It speaks about a period in all of our lives where we think no-one and nothing can touch us. Especially when it comes to relationships. You know, that one relationship where everyone is telling you to stay away, run, high-tail it out of there. Yet we think we know what is best for us and ignore all advice thrown our way.Max falls in love with a girl (Olivia) who could not be more wrong for him and his feelings of everyday life. Not only does he think a real job is above him, he is now involved with a girl with the same feelings. They spend all day in bed, "writing" (though neither of them write anything more than a few pages), and spend all their money on things they clearly cannot afford.The story is told from Max's point of view, and you learn very early on that he is very self-indulgent and believes he is above everything around him. He gets fired from job after job, even his paper delivery route which he thought was perfect for him as he didn't have to deal with people in the dark hours. I found myself feeling bad for him while reading this book. Poor thing was so misguided and fell in love with the worst possible girl for him. However, as I kept reading the book, I stopped feeling bad and just took pity on him. No matter how many people gave him sound advice about work, women and being an adult, he kept thinking like a 15 year old. As long as he had sex and a couch he was happy.I found myself enjoying this book. It was whiny and self-indulgent, but intriguing. I couldn't wait to see what would happen next, what job he would be fired from, and what his girlfriend Olivia would end up coming home with next. The language used in this book is not for the weak at heart. It's harsh and real. The sex scenes sometimes are a bit jarring, but let's be real, nothing unheard of. As long as you can read past that (while a big portion of the book deals with sex) you will enjoy this book.

  • Ti
    2019-02-14 06:12

    The Short of It:Hating Olivia is about obsession and lust and how easily we can lose ourselves when we are confronted with it.The Rest of It:Max is the type of guy who cruises through life. He’s educated, but unfocused. He would rather write, than make ends meet but the writing doesn’t happen too often. Although a bit unstable when it comes to finances, overall he’s a pretty happy guy.Enter Olivia Aphrodite. Olivia is drop-dead gorgeous. She too, is not too stable in the finance department and has made a living working dead-end jobs and letting men (with money), take “care” of her.Although their personalities are quite different, Max and Olivia move in together and it goes downhill from there.The story is told from Max’s point of view so what we get is the incredible frustration he experiences in loving a creature like Olivia. Max is consumed by her and completely obsessed with her. As their relationship progresses, he realizes that he needs to break it off, but how? How does one extract himself from an addiction such as this?I must tell you right off, that there is a lot of sex in this little novel. A lot of sex, and a lot of language that you may not be comfortable with. Putting that aside, I found myself able to relate to both characters. Although you may never experience a relationship such as the one Max has with Olivia, you’ve probably known someone who has.The story is a bit repetitive because this couple flounders over and over again while trying to make it work. But there was something about the novel that kept me reading. Perhaps, I wanted Max to find a way out. Perhaps it was a bit like watching a train wreck. Either way, I could not pull myself away from the novel and found myself completely wrapped-up in the story.The writing is tight and the characters never waver. Also, Max is quite the reader so there are lots of literary references that you might enjoy. Overall, I enjoyed reading it even though it’s not something I would have normally picked-up on my own.

  • Sarah
    2019-01-27 04:53

    Hooray, I won this book from Goodreads' First Reads Giveaway.The title's kind of a dead giveaway as to how this novel's going to end, but I enjoyed the process of getting from the beginning to the end and seeing exactly how it would all work out. I'm sure almost everyone who reads this ends up saying something like, "For God's sake, get up off your lazy ass and get a job already." I know I did, several times throughout the book. However, that feeling of not being able to go out and face the world and do the things that need to be done is one I can identify with, just hopefully not nearly that badly. I'll admit I'm a prude, because all the detailed descriptions of sexual acts were a bit too much for my taste.I liked the writing itself, and the storyline in general. The whirlwind attraction followed by a more slowly growing hatred for eachother seemed familiar to me, though I can't pinpoint what book I'm thinking of. Maybe something by Jonathan Letham, which should be a compliment to the author. The writing was polished, there were no glaring errors that I recall, unlike in the last novel I won, and the characterization is good. I can't decide if I'm annoyed or not by the psychic's prediction of 5 years of misery being correct almost exactly to the day, but I guess it works. I can't give a higher rating because this novel is so different from what I typically prefer.

  • Ella
    2019-01-22 05:19

    Maybe it was self-fulfilling prophecy, but I found myself completely hating Olivia through the course of this novel. Her life is a one-dimensional paragraph in a Psych 101 discourse, a woman seeking out shelter in the form of her sexuality to escape demons in her past. Not that my sentiments towards any of the other characters were much warmer - shallow, unsubstantial and cliche, even the narrator himself seemed so disinterested with his own life so as to inspire little to no sympathy. He claims to be an intellect, a true bohemian, and yet nothing speaks to this fact other than obscene lists of authors and artists dropped from space so as if to show how "artistic" and "bohemian" Max is solely based on the fact that he reads. It's as if the author, not truly understanding how to write a character driven by art or expression instead decides that these lists of famous free-thinkers are perfect substitutes for character development. Bohemian ideals are beautiful things when they are personal and organic, but a mass-produced shadow of someone's idea of what a bohemian is falls very short. An inconsequential tale written with sophomoric flair, the one nice thing I can say is that it only took a day of my life to read.

  • AmandaSOTP
    2019-01-28 01:04

    My Review:This was quite an interesting read. It reveals just how far one can lose themselves in a relationship with another person. In this case, it's not the healthiest relationship, and in the end is quite detrimental to our main character, but while it is a bit anti-climatic in the end, the story is well written and Max manages to extricate himself with something left of himself.There are many other things I could say about this book, but we've all been in a relationship that maybe wasn't the best so you know the basic idea. However, knowing that this is somewhat of a memoir for the author, it makes the feelings evoked by the interactions of the characters that much more real.Definitely a book to read at least once and I look forward to reading the follow up tale, Lounge Lizards.

  • Maria
    2019-02-16 00:13

    What I Can Tell You: While I am sure that there are many people who will love this book. This wasn't my cup of tea at all. Mark SaFranko is a very smart writer maybe a little too smart for me. Which is why I have always called myself the Amateur Book Reviewer. I believe the writing to be good! However, this was a little too much like reality. The love story is completely toxic as a lot of relationships turn out to be. It is slow and I have no respect for our two main characters, Max or Olivia. I wouldn't be friends with either of them.With all of that said, I love that the author is from New Jersey and I knew a lot of the places he wrote of and appreciated all the literary mentions.

  • ABookGeek
    2019-01-28 05:04

    This book initially sounded intriguing, but somehow it was different than I expected. I'm torn on this one. There are things that I liked about the book, but the characters were not really very likeable. Olivia is just trouble from the get-go. I also would not call Max and Olivia' relationship "love" in any real sense - obessession, most definitely - but not love. The story is told from Max's point of view, so we only get his interpretation of Olivia's motives for her behavior.Continue reading full review here:

  • Sara Habein
    2019-02-11 04:01

    Rarely do I abandon books early on. Usually I give a book at least 1/3rd of the way to win me over, and I finish most books that I start. This book, 40 pages in, I started to question whether it was worth my time. I don't want to be snobby, but the writing is just ... not good. As-in, using "gift horse in the mouth" as a serious phrase sort of not good, which I would look past to a certain extent if I cared about any of the characters. I did not care. I care about the stack of books I've been meaning to read for some time, and so I'm afraid I had to move on.

  • Amy
    2019-02-19 03:02

    Despite how vile both Max and Livy get in this book, you still feel some sense of sadness for them as they continue their co-dependent, downward spiral. Although it's a more extreme example of a volatile ad unhealthy relationship, anyone who's ever gone through a bad break up can relate to the novel in some way. I recommend skipping the epilogue though. It was a bit trite and could have been left out completely.

  • Denise
    2019-01-28 04:03

    This is not a book for everybody! SaFranko's writing reminds me of that of Douglas Kennedy--sort of 'confessional.' Like Kennedy, SaFranko's novels were first released in Europe and have been very successful there.HATING OLIVIA is the story of a love-hate relationship. I loved it but like I said, it is not for everyone!

  • Stephanie
    2019-02-19 06:57

    As I read, I spent most of the time not necessarily hating Olivia, but rather hating this book. Wholly disappointing (though, my expectations steadily declined as I progressed through the book's pages).

  • BRNTerri
    2019-02-19 06:08

    I was very disappointed in this novel. I found it to be absolutely boring. Early on I found myself not caring at all for either Max or Olivia. I had to force myself to finish it. Sadly, I won't try this author again.* I won this book in a giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

  • reqbat
    2019-01-24 02:56

    completely one-dimensional characters, and even that is too generous. nothing happens in this book- the fights are uninteresting, the fucking is uninteresting, the characters are uninteresting. AVOID.

  • andy
    2019-02-16 04:00

    decent. i am assuming semi-autobiographical.