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Closer: A Novel (Cooper, Dennis) Paperback – January 18, 1994

3.8 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In chapters titled with the names of the characters on whom they focus, this brief novel links together a small, bleakly debauched cast of gay men. Dedicated to sex and violence for the catharsis these acts would seem to promise, the men settle into a dull grind of physical encounters that, no matter how searing, fail to provide transcendence. The fault of their miserable existence seems to lie not in them, but in existence itself; life by its very nature can offer little but a thrillingly painful prelude to death. The novel's problem is not Cooper's point of view but the monotony of his spare, honest treatment: his deadpan look at chronic sexual anomie is so faithful to the phenomenon it describes that the work succumbs, laconically, to weariness. Scope is further limited by Cooper's decision to address the condition of despair more than its cause. Though convincing, sometimes darkly funny evidence of dissolution and decay abounds (" . . . men had worn him away. They'd fastened him to a treadmill that spun until there was nothing around but a vague outline, smeared in blood"), memorable details tend to languish in dolorous prose.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Dennis Cooper is the author of the George Miles Cycle, an interconnected sequence of five novels: Closer, Frisk, Try, Guide, and Period. His other works include My Loose Thread; The Sluts, winner of France's Prix Sade and the Lambda Literary Award; God, Jr.; Wrong; The Dream Police; and Ugly Man. He divides his time between Los Angeles and Paris.
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Product Details

  • Series: Cooper, Dennis
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Reprint edition (January 18, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080213212X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802132123
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #533,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on April 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
this is one of the most painful books i've ever read. it hurts to read it, but it's still one of my favorite books. cooper has an ability to show situations that are both horrific and beautiful. that really hit home for me because i think that's how life really is. it's like children singing in hell.
i read this one right after _Frisk_ and liked it a lot better. i could identify more with the George character, than i could with anyone in the other book. the portrait of the kid who gets exploited by everyone around him in different ways is just amazing. i couldn't sleep the night i read it. it's one of those books that makes you sad and contemplative. if you want to do that, definitely pick it up. if not, it might not be a good idea.
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Format: Paperback
I intially got into Cooper by mistaking his work for another writer, but found myself happily surprised after reading some short stories he had written.
This book is pretty much standard for Cooper, not to say it is bad. It is always fascinating to read about the sorts of things people think about but never admit to. Or the things which ahppen in life no one wants to talk about. Specifically very dirty sex and murder. And this book will cover all of that.
It's rather hard to explain the plot since I don't think there is one in any normal sense. Dennis Cooper ust isn't that kind of writer. Instead, we have vignettes all orbiting around one character, George Miles, a teenager sort of confused by and removed from the world. This quality he has allows numerous tortures to be enacted upon him and he takes it, not really seeming to feel any deeper sort of pleasure. A character it is easy to project upon by the other characters.
It's been a few months since I've read this, but it still seems fresh in my head. This is the sort of stuff which will seriously affect you, but some will find it too shocking and repulsive for their taste.
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Format: Paperback
The fact that it is told, mainly, from the perspective of those using this young man, who is looking for love and understanding after the death of his mother, makes every act of cruelty (the emotional even more so that the physical) stab at your heart so much more.
Dennis Cooper manages to infuse hope, love and compassion in with the loss, cruelty and sex. Making this a really brilliant work.
If you have a heart, read this book!
I think a lot of readers get it wrong when they say that Cooper's work is sado-homo-erotic. It's too human and emotional for such a narrow definition.
Dennis Cooper and his works are a perfect example of why I love to be a reader and wish I was a more eloquent reviewer.
2 Comments 14 of 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
This book took me by surprise. Throughout this very quick read, we get to know several unforgettable characters, each of whom could possibly have been the central character, had this book taken a different direction. Cooper's writing style is remarkable. After finishing this, I quickly ordered later books of his. A must read for fans of unique, twisted gay fiction.
1 Comment 7 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
I've just finished this book, my third so far by Dennis Cooper, the other two being "Frisk" and "Guide". Cooper seems to be covering the same issues of sadomaschoism, death, murder, homosexual rape, etc...In this book as compared to the other two the reader can see his development as a writer,which in the later books he is more controlled in his prose. This was one of his first books, while the other two were written later. It's a good novel with some similar characters but it left me with a coldness inside.
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I read the book twice before I wrote this review (which was quick to do since the novel is only 130 pages long), once to read the content, and again to see Cooper's vision. While I cannot personally identify with his facination and association with love/sex/violence/death, I cannot deny that this book is powerful. George Miles is incredibly sympathetic and complex despite lacking clarity, while those around him are so incredibly depraved and self-indulgent (to the point that they BS themselves). If you can read past the "rebellious" content, then it's for you.
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Format: Paperback
"Closer", the first in a five book series of short novels, is hypnotic and disturbing. Dennis Cooper's spare and elegant prose documents the lives of young people in our society who are constantly being exploited. With no support, no sense of themselves, and no real hope for anything better, the characters in this novel stumble toward bleak and sometimes gruesome fates. Dennis Cooper's novels are a wake-up call to a society that is traumatizing its children.
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