GUIDE by Dennis Cooper


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 More transgressive meanderings from shock jock Cooper (Try, 1994, etc.), who seems--as far as the dance of death is concerned- -to have all the steps down pat without the first clue of where he wants to go with them. ``Luke at Scott's. Mason's home jerking off to a picture of Smear's bassist, Alex. . . Robert, Tracy, and Chris are several miles across town shooting dope. . . Pam's directing a porn film. Goof is the star. He's twelve and a half. I'm home playing records and writing a novel about the aforementioned people, especially Luke. This is it.'' In its very first lines, the story is laid out pretty clearly. Like most of Cooper's previous works, this is an account of life among the addicts and prostitutes of the gay urban demimonde, this time in Los Angeles. The narrator is a novelist and magazine reporter who comes into contact with a clique of teenaged hustlers while working on an article about AIDS among the runaways and drifters of West Hollywood, but from his descriptions of his daily routines one could suppose that he had grown up in Covenant House himself: ``All the beauty in my life is either sleeping, unconscious, or dead.'' And how: When he and his friends aren't shooting up or having sex on camera, they are usually fantasizing about killing or being killed. Goof, for example, ODs during a porn shoot. Then Drew gets knocked out cold when someone whacks him with a skateboard during a bit of rough sex. The narrator dreams of eviscerating people from time to time and seems to be obsessed with a very young streetwalker named Sniffles, who likes to be beaten up in bed. After a while he tracks Sniffles down to the AIDS hospice where he's dying. When he gets home, he finds that Drew may in fact be dead. He sits down to finish his novel. As offensive in its aimlessness as it is in its perversity. Cooper should be ashamed of himself.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-8021-1608-6
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Grove
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1997


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