The month's Zooba
pick.Cooper, Dennis. The Sluts. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2005.Summary
: 2005 Lambda Literary Award winner. A story of mingled fact and fiction of rent boy Brad and his pimp/boyfriend Brian reaches legendary proportions within an online community of gay men into extreme sex. After a stint in jail, Brad and Brian start selling portions of Brad's death...except that "Brad" isn't really Brad at all but a young man named Thad who has a death wish.Comments
: Written entirely in faux reviews, IMs, online forum postings, emails, and faxes, this novel is at once a deliciously nuanced and gripping experiment in unreliable narration and a surprisingly easy read (if you're the sort of person who is used to the lingo of online communication). Though thematically it's Cooper's usual (gay) sex, drugs, and death, I was impressed by how carefully controlled and manipulative he made the structure without compromising the reader accessibility that his George Miles Cycle
often lacked. At first, I was concerned that by the end you still wouldn't know what the hell is going on exactly and who to believe since in the beginning you get dropped in head first and the narrative isn't quite so coherent as in later stages, but happily it all ends on a relatively conclusive note--read: It was all one sicko fantasy. Of course, the larger implication, that there are young men out there whose only sense of worth is as other mens' sex objects, is awfully depressing...and an offshoot of a larger cultural impulse toward commodification, even of peoples' real lives.Notes
: hardcover, exclusive BCE; trade PBO edition availableRating
- A most impressive novel that's more than worth the time it takes...but if you don't know what you're in for, don't do it.