The internationally acclaimed debut of a novelist described by the New York Times Book Review as a “lovely comic surrealist”—a story of sex, love, and art found in the unlikeliest of places
Jeremy Acidophilus is not really named after the yogurt culture—he just likes to tell people that he is. Actually, he thought of that line years ago but has never been brave enough to use it on someone—until he meets Lady Henrietta over a dish of green Jell-O in his new favorite coffee shop. A painter of naked men for Playgirl magazine who has taken her name from The Picture of Dorian Gray, Henrietta has the power to make Jeremy do all kinds of things he would not normally do, including disrobe for a stranger. He thinks that he must be falling in love. Think again, says Sara, the artist’s outrageously precocious eleven-year-old daughter as she sets out to seduce the new model.
From the gray streets of Manhattan to the pastel kaleidoscope of Disney World, Jeremy’s journey of self-discovery is both irresistibly absurd and uncannily real. Everyone—from his cat Minou to a dancing magician named Laura to the agents hired by his mother to taunt him—has advice for Jeremy. Before he can hear any of it, though, he first needs to find out how to listen to himself.
A witty and wild exploration of sexuality, creativity, and the paradoxes of self, Nude Men is the rare novel with the power to charm and shock in equal measure.
With its playful language and goofy big-city surrealism, this wonderfully peculiar first novel has more than a little in common with Francesca Lia Block's ``Weetzie Bat'' YA novels and Banana Yoshimoto's Kitchen ; its particular brand of sly naivete, however, is all its own. The madcap tale begins when its narrator, a gloomy would-be fact-checker named Jeremy Acidophilus, is approached in a Manhattan coffee shop by Lady Henrietta, an artist who paints nude men in a manner she describes as `` `the more beautiful than life' style.'' Jeremy, it seems, is a near perfect example of an Optical Illusion Man; in Lady Henrietta's words, ``he's almost something but not quite, or maybe he is and it's impossible to tell if he is or isn't.'' After agreeing to pose for the beguiling painter, Jeremy's life grows increasingly bizarre: he is seduced by Lady Henrietta's 11-year-old daughter and later becomes involved with Laura, a self-styled dancing magician who, according to the National Enquirer , ``has stated in her will that when she dies she wants her entire fortune to be spent on having someone stand at her grave at all times and clap forever, or until her money runs out. Shifts are allowed.'' Exuberantly inventive, this inscrutable shaggy-dog tale wanders on, defying the reader's expectations at every turn. The willfully childlike language, coupled with the meandering fairy tale narrative, could easily have become coy and predictable. Here, however, thanks to the author's evident love of storytelling, as well as a certain zany earnestness, the result is droll, mesmerizing and unexpectedly memorable.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Psychologically engaging with twists at unexpected turns. At times confusing and then eye opening, all tying back to the original point. A good but patient read.