THE BEASTS by Leslie Garrett


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About the most that can be said for Mr. Garrett's beasts in men's clothing is that while they're out of touch with the world, and each other, and certainly most readers, they do reflect the temper or rather distemper of the times. They're very sick when they meet and completely catatonic by the close. He's Farley Grimm, a mail clerk from Louisiana; she's Lenore, who had been drifting like milkweed until her rape by a big concupiscent Negro called The Prophet who also likes pot and pornography. Farley feels ""love, compassion and tenderness"" for Lenore; she feels nothing; and before long he begins to drink, grows a beard, loses his job, perches on the roof, befriends the Prophet, has himself tattooed, and finally takes in the Prophet and a tribe of beggars and cripples who fill the apartment with filth, rotting food, excreta, etc. The last scene is one of utter animalistic abandon. Yes, there is a trace of mysticism--even a whiff of Genet; then too there are many fetishes--Mr. Garrett is particularly preoccupied with hair or its removal. All of this may have some submerged meaning, but then he does not write very clearly. What are ""soft visceral misericordes""? and what is a portrait ""of a man and woman in curiously laconic coitus""? It doesn't speak? no, it doesn't communicate.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1966
Publisher: Scribners