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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
So. Yeah. I've been working on the "random remainder" pile. 
13th-Jan-2006 01:29 pm
*coughs* I'm talking about books whose titles AND authors are wholly unknown to me, but that I bought for mere cents on the dollar. Yesterday's read, Tim and Pete was one, and today's read is another. And I seem to be having very good luck all around with these random purchases. I know want to read more works by both authors.

Oh, and Grove Press, along with St. Martin's Press, seems to be another imprint to keep my eyes peeled for when it comes to gay fiction. They seem to specialize in extremely literary but avant garde titles.

Stadler, Matthew. The Sex Offender. 1994. New York: Grove Press, 2000.
Summary: An anonymous man know alternately as "Mr. uh uh" and "Mr. Sludge" has been convicted of sexual relations wish his student Dexter and is now in government-imposed rehab. In the process, he meets the boy Hakan, gets a job as a cosmetics expert of sorts, working on the faces of politicians, and becomes embroiled in a rebellion. Turns out that the leader of the rebellion, the opposition leader, has been wearing the Prime Minister's face--and now it's Mr. uh uh's turn.
Comments: I might have expected any number of things from Stadler's novel on the basis of its title and the synopsis on its back cover, but what I got was definitely not anything I could have anticipated. Though located somewhere in the Western world, Mr. uh uh's city/nation is nothing that, to my knowledge, has ever existed on this planet, and the facial prosthetics so popular amongst politicians is nothing that has ever existed either. This is science fiction in the way that 1984 is science fiction, positing in the process a novel socio-political arrangement in order to comment on the trajectory of our own society. In any case, most of the inner workings of this society are never explained, and the novel reads with surprisingly magnificent, but elusive, beauty. It seems that the author is arguing that those who must rely upon the mercies of the state--it's criminals and insane persons--are those who best-understand its workings. In any case, Mr. uh uh is able to transfer his passionate love for Dexter (which, after the Doctor-General is finished with him--note how even the therapist is an arm of the government, even though he has his own little projects on the side, apparently--can never be consummated ever again) to a burning passion for all of the people under his care as Prime Minister. Except that he has as much autonomy as Prime Minister as a drag queen lip-syncing along to old standards. That doesn't mean that he's not an idol nevertheless.
Notes: trade paperback, 1st printing
Rating: 7.5/10 - Fascinating and highly-recommended. The title and cover art seem to be going for maximum shock value, but the novel between the covers is remarkably intelligent and literary.
13th-Jan-2006 09:03 pm (UTC)
I just bought this book a couple of weeks before X-mas in a second hand bookshop. The cover is the late drag performer Ethyl Eichelberge (I don't know if I have the spelling correct). The book, if I'm not mistaken, is dedicated to him. Glad to get your rec.
13th-Jan-2006 10:21 pm (UTC)
Ethyl Eichelberger. You're right. That helps to explain the whole inclusion of the Lucrezia character, which struck me as a bit surreal as I was reading it. Hmm. Interesting.
30th-Jan-2006 09:12 pm (UTC)
Review archived.
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