THE NIGHTCLERK by Stephen Schneck


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This is Grove's Xtra-Special Krazy Book for Fall. A gangrenous novel loaded with Jungle rot and athletic foot-fetishists, The Nightclerk is pretty stunning (it has already won the $10,000 Formentor prize awarded most recently to Gisela Elsner's The Giant Dwarfs.) It is a Half-Naked Lunch, written on liquid mariJuana, propelled by LSD and sung to a morphine moon. There is NO story. The book resembles the ""Nighttown"" episode in Ulysses or Djuna Barnes' Nightwood. The main character is J. Spenser Blight, a 600-lb. nightclerk at the Travelers Hotel in murky San Francisco. Blight is a parody of bizarre degeneracy and deformity; he spends his time cutting out nudes from magazines and reading paperbacks that seem straight from Olympia Press-- girls being whipped and so on. Wednesdays, his day off, he sits around with an elderly degenerate watching playgrounds through binoculars. The main action of the book is Blight's realization of his fantasies via his prostitute wife. For every unsacred act his wife performs, with all sorts of perverted paraphernalia, Blight has a camera and tape recorder to transcribe the whole filthy mess. The climax, which happens off-page at the beginning of the book, is his wife's death when she leaps from a chiffonier and accidentally lands on the headboard of a bed. (The dying swan--with a thud!) The truly accurate phrase for this book is unprintable; each paragraph is tickled with a feather, and the composition smacks of a Tangiers hashish pad. Very, very imaginative but Just as (Q)uestionable with a very very big...

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 1965
Publisher: Grove Press