The Sluts

The Sluts

Book - 2005
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Publisher: New York : Carroll & Graf, 2005, c2004
Edition: 1st Carroll & Graf ed
ISBN: 9780786716746
Characteristics: 263 p. ; 21 cm


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2005 Gay Men's Fiction

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Apr 26, 2011

I don't know who would consider this book to be "erotic". Then again, perhaps I don't want to know.

This is familiar Dennis Cooper territory, drugged out lawbreakingly young gay men and the older sadists that want to fuck, fist, beat and kill them. There is no other way to describe it. If that above sentence offends you, then you should not read this book. You should also keep in mind that I gave this book a positive review.

I've read other Dennis Cooper books and been ambivalent towards them. His prose is beautiful and poetic, pulling startling metaphors out of thin air, yet the characters and plot have always seemed without direction and uninteresting, almost as if they were taking their own nihilism a little too seriously.

What makes The Sluts different, however, is the style in which it is written and the fact that Cooper actually employs some method of plotting into this book. Well, more impressive plotting than his previous attempts, anyway.

All the noise is about a boy for hire who will do anything for a price. Anytime the word "anything" is mentioned in a Cooper book in conjunction with a young male character (which is a redundant specification in Cooper's universe), be prepared to cringe. The story is told in the epistolary format, via chatrooms, internet forum boards, emails and... get this, faxes. The format creates for the most interesting aspect of the book, creating a world of constantly shifting truth and fantasy, lies and dreams, where no one and nothing can be trusted, a narrative composed of unreliable narratives, devoid of the safety and comfort of truth. By the time the book hurtles towards its ghastly, jaw-dropping end, you can't help but feel like you understand it all.

Even though you wish you didn't.

Which is something Cooper has never managed to inspire in me before. So much so, that you almost with the last surprise were a lie too. Which says a lot.

A whole frightening lot.


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