A wild, pornographic, funny, postmodern rant that, like most from Coover lately (Ghost Town, 1998, etc.), adds up to something less than the sum of its parts.
In the tradition of Tristram Shandy or Finnegan’s Wake, this is a story that can be opened at any point and read at length with great pleasure—though it somehow can’t come together as a single and complete work. It introduces us to the life and times of Lucky Pierre, a legendary porn star known to and admired by all the citizens of Cinecity, the frozen capital of some unnamed utopian world of endless sexual gratification. Pierre is more than a celebrity: he is one of the guiding lights and elder statesmen of Cinecity, on close terms with the mayor and the rest of the town mothers and fathers. There’s no semblance of a developing linear narrative, so best may be simply to touch on the brighter elements of the story. Pierre has nine muses (Cecilia, Cleo, Clara, Cassandra, Constance, Carlotta, Cora, Catherine, and Calliope) who direct his films and create elaborate sexual worlds for him to perform in. He is a man of many personae, taking on variously the character of a smutty cartoon, submissive slave, dirty officemate, naughty little boy, helpless castaway, sex machine, outlaw, or bored suburban husband. The scenarios are about as coherent as actual porn films—that is, not coherent at all but simply serving as the pretexts for extended (and admittedly pretty amusing) sexual intercourse. There is, for example, an extremely funny scene involving female medical students, a lecture hall, a gurney, and a buxom professor who demonstrates to her audience how the proper stimulation of Pierre’s—well, you get the point. After a while, you can easily get lost in the subject.
A lot more fun than it probably deserves to be.