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Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1974
Publisher: Braziller

This is a bleakly, blackly hilarious novel by the author of Cowboys Don't Cry about a Maine boy who comes to New York in the '50's because he doesn't have anything better to do, Coffin's only ambition is to get laid, which he accomplishes in what is possibly the anti-classic of its genre (""As for French kissing itself, once he got over the initial shock it turned out to be as bad as he'd always thought it would be""). Faute de mieux, he keeps doing it again and again until his pleasant promiscuous life as a liquor store salesman in a wino-bum-junkie part of Brooklyn is disrupted when a pseudo-hip young businessman with a beautiful and totally amoral wife buys Coffin's tenement and kicks everyone (except Coffin, who won't leave) off the premises. The wife uses Coffin for drugs and sex (in that order), and Coffin discovers the miseries of love for the first time amidst bravura about the rights of statutory tenants and a botched attempt to murder his landlord. The absurdism of this work (""Falling in love hadn't enriched his life, it had drained it of everything that had given it meaning and substance"") is so total that it makes so-called realistic works like Last Exit to Brooklyn seem almost as melodramatically sentimental in their way as Love Story. Not for everybody.