The stunning conclusion to Dennis Cooper's five-book cycle, Period earned its author the accolade "a disquieting genius" by Vanity Fair and praise for his "elegant prose and literary lawlessness" by The New York Times. The culmination of Cooper's explorations into sex and death, youth culture, and the search for the ineffable object of desire, Period is a breathtaking, mesmerizing final statement to the five-book cycle it completes. Cooper has taken his familiar themes -- strangely irresistible and interchangeable young men, passion that crosses into murder, the lure of drugs, the culpabilities of authorship, and the inexact, haunting communication of feeling-and melded them into a novel of flawless form and immense power. Set in a spare, smoke-and-mirror-filled world of secret Web sites, Goth bands, Satanism, pornography, and outsider art, Period is a literary disappearing act as mysterious as it is logical. Obsessive, beautiful, and darkly comic, Period is a stunning achievement from one of America's finest writers.
Cooper's fans will not be surprised, but the uninitiated may balk at his new novel's macabre world of disaffected young men engaging in Satanic sacrifice, gang rape, cutting-edge pornography and nonchalant mutilation and murder. Undaunted readers will find a subversive brilliance and considerable wit behind this darkly comic ride through the looking glass of marginal youth culture. Cooper (Closer; Frisk; Try; Guide) imbues the fifth and final novel in his "Sex and Death" series with a mythic tone, centering the action in a remote, nondescript town and a mysterious house, all black on the inside except for a large mirror. Events take place on both sides of the mirror in two (or more) equally dangerous worlds that reflect and affect one another. But that is only the beginning of the mirror imagery. The main characters are a string of young men who eerily resemble each other, including voyeurs Leon and Nate, pothead Dagger, and Nate's boyfriend Bob, who's obsessed with dead-ex George. And there is a novel called Period within this novel, which a Satanic band called the Omen have popularized among their Goth followers. A cabal of pornographic Webmasters and their online audience likewise celebrate the inner novel, which also features a cast of interchangeable young men, a nondescript town and its mysterious house. As the two narratives, the characters and locations mirror each other, it eventually becomes clear that reality is only a series of endless reflections. Cooper plumbs themes of obsession, love, identity, authorial paradox and communication breakdown with virtuosic narrative technique. And he succeeds in wringing insight and even humor from abhorrent visions of sadism and blackness.