DOWN & OUT IN SHOREDITCH AND HORTON by Stewart Home

DOWN & OUT IN SHOREDITCH AND HORTON

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Kathy Acker says of this British paperback by Home (Cunt and Blow Job , not reviewed): “A repellent, sick, psychodrama that is sadistic, morally reprehensible and has no redeeming features whatsoever. I loved it!” Lennon/McCartney warned us in the lyrics of “Paperback Writer”: “It’s the dirty story of a dirty man.”

Home’s dirty story is about Eve, a trollop who believes that prostitution and crime are arts. The prostitute is a legal and economic boon to mankind, consisting of the oldest crime on the books and thus producing “the whole apparatus of the police and criminal justice, bailiffs, [and] judges”—not to mention the automotive, medical, and beauty industries that profit from whores, whom Eve sees both as moral and tragic figures. Adam Scald, researching a book on whores, is astonished that Eve, when she takes him to her book-lined lodging, is more widely read than he. They argue about Thomas De Quincey, then Dickens, with Adam demolishing David Copperfield as weak tea for illustrating prostitution. When he stands up for Mozart’s music that, according to the University of California, is a booster of IQs, Eve suggests that brain tumors are more mind-expanding. And so it goes for more literary hugger-mugger and whorish anecdotes. Eve hates class exploitation but seems happy enough to rob and exploit a drunken john who passes out on her lap. Home has clearly researched his subject, as Eve offers a full display of whores’ dodges. Adam makes a case for Henry James being Jack the Ripper and tells of a murderers’ club founded by James Boswell, while Eve takes the literary history of whores back to Thomas Dekker. She even slips into a surreal dreamworld where the misogynist William Burroughs time-travels in his orgone accumulator and becomes the Whitechapel murderer. Or were the murders Masonic rituals? She becomes a Goddess, strong as 20 twenty men, and turns to ritual sex murder for profit.

Blooms to a lurid weirdness. Only for special tastes.

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 2004
ISBN: 1-904316-26-3
Page count: 200pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2004