“[A] brilliant, triumphantly lurid writer as well as a supremely talented, elegant stylist whose prose is smart and nervy. He might also be the last literary outlaw in mainstream American fiction.” —Bret Easton Ellis
Internationally acclaimed writer Dennis Cooper continues to study the material he's always explored honestly, but does so now—in stories—with a sense of awareness and a satirical touch that exploits and winks at his mastery of this world. As it has done for decades, Cooper’s taut, controlled prose lays bare the compulsions and troubling emptiness of the human soul.
The cult novelist's collection of short stories plumbs veins of dark humor amid the sex and gore his fans have come to expect. The contents range from short shorts a rumination on "The Fifteen Worst Russian Gay Porn Web Sites" and an abortive episode entitled "One Night in 1979 I Did Too Much Coke and Couldn't Sleep and Had What I Thought Was a Million-Dollar Idea to Write the Definitive Tell-all Book About Glam Rock Based on My Own Personal Experience but This Is as Far as I Got" to longer pieces in which sadistic male characters explore their preoccupations with the murder, mutilation and rape of nihilistic teenaged boys. Stories of the latter group often feature text pared down to dialogue alone or resembling scripts complete with stage directions. The lighter fare, such as it is, provides much needed comic relief, as in the case of "The Anal-Retentive Line Editor," which proceeds through interstitial edits upon a series of drafts of a piece of gay erotica, forming a running conversation and problematic seduction between author and editor. This is classic Cooper: explicit, unconventional and, to the uninitiated, alarming.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Nothing quite like it.
What a completely bizarre but generally excellent collection of stories. "The Jerk" leads the pack, usurping the title piece as best in the collection. Still, the pieces flow well and their incredibly graphic, violent and explicit revelations of torture, homosexuality and most every shade of sadism remain engaging throughout without overshadowing the deeper character dramas buried under all the blood and sex.
My only complaint was the end story because it wasn't particularly strong and was a disappointing finish to an otherwise remarkable book.