DSM-5, written under pseudonym by “The American Psychiatric Association”, is a novel in the form of a lexicon of “mental disorders” being used by psychotherapists in some parallel universe. The loneliness of the narrator, who can think of other human beings only in terms of what seems to be wrong with them, is its central theme.
Sections like those on the personality disorders offer a terrifying glimpse of a futuristic system of repression, one in which deviance isn’t furiously stamped out like it is in Orwell’s unsubtle Oceania, but pathologized instead. Here there’s no need for any rats, and the diagnostician can honestly believe she’s doing the right thing; it’s all in the name of restoring the sick to health.
Sam Kriss reviewed this book for The New Inquiry.