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Exquisite Corpse Paperback – August 20, 1997

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (August 20, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684836270
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684836270
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (204 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #272,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

You've probably heard that this love story about two cannibalistic serial killers (loosely modeled after Dennis Nilsen and Jeffrey Dahmer) is over the top. You've been warned about the lovingly meticulous descriptions of murder and necrophilia. But the novel also features a keen look at the AIDS plague, in a setting almost worth dying for: Brite's doomed aesthetes dance in a sweet, heady New Orleans of milky coffee and beignets, alligators, Billy Holiday tunes, scented candles, pirate radio, swamp French, andouille sausage and one bar for every 175 people. And the structure is the tightest of Brite's books so far. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Blood-soaked sheets, cannibalism, rotting, half-dissected corpses: this gruesome psychological horror novel has all the grue a reader might?or might not?want. Brite (Drawing Blood, 1993), the reigning queen of Generation-X splatterpunks, pulls out the stops in this ghastly tale of two serial killers who find true love over the body of a murdered and mutilated boy in the historic French Quarter of New Orleans. Londoner Andrew Compton, imprisoned for the necrophiliac slayings of 23 young men, escapes from prison by (rather unbelievably) faking his own death and killing the coroners gathered to autopsy his body. Fleeing to Louisiana, he hooks up with Jay Byrne, slacker scion of a wealthy old family, a man whose murders are even more fiendish than Compton's own. Brite is a highly competent stylist with a knack for depicting convincing, if monstrous, characters. Her plot development rests too heavily on coincidence, however, and on an excess of details drawn from the life of real-world serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer. Though Brite shifts point of view throughout, she always returns to Compton's first person. This technique gives the narrative rhythm and emotional force but also seems aimed toward intimating the reader in Compton's acts of dehumanization ("the aesthetics of dismemberment") and depravity. And so what Brite really presents here is, ultimately, yet another crimson leaf in the literature of the pornography of violence.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

I rarely read books twice, but this one - I will.
It's not to my taste and wish the write up had been a little clearer about the actual content of the book.
sara kindle
This is the first book I've read by Poppy Z Brite, and it most certainly will not be my last.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Justus on March 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
I cannot for the life of me understand why I love this book. Homosexual serial killers? Not really my cup of tea. However, Exquisite Corpse was fantastic! I have never read anything quite like it before. It challenged my narrow world view, consumed my mind as I read it, and afterwards it left me in a stunned stupor. The book is immensely readable, Brite has a real talent for the nuts and bolts of language. She can hold the reader in the palm of her hand, and then squeeze, leaving them gasping for breath, but begging for more. As much as I love this book, I know it isn't for everyone. After I finished it, I recommended it to all my friends and family. I found that approximately two out of three people, that I persuaded to pick it up, either liked or loved the book. The third person in general was disgusted. The beauty of Exquisite Corpse though, is that within a very short period of time, you will know if you are that third person.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Josh Hitchens on July 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
It has been said that Poppy Z. Brite's regular publishers would not accept this book. It's not because of the content, its because of the quality. But before you resolve not to read "Exquisite Corpse," let me finish.
In this novel, the setting is the mid-1980's a time where fear of AIDS was riding high, and people were dying right and left. In this bare, unemotional world, we meet two serial killers. Jay and Andrew murder for the joy of it, reveling in the corpses that they construct. The murders are graphic and gory, the prose clinical and restrained. Fans of Poppy's flowing poetic prose will find a different thing all together this tome around.
"Exquisite Corpse" was written in this way because it suits the mood of the novel. A world where people are dying from a ravishing disease, and embrace death as an escape. Where we are thrust into the minds of murderers of the most sickening sort. A literal hell on earth, this novel is without love, without hope, without any semblance of normalcy.
Poppy took a chance on writing this novel, and I praise her for it. "Exquisite Corpse" is relatively short, which some will think of as a blessing. The ending is too fast and unsatisfying, as if Poppy just got tired of living in the nightmarish world of depression and depravity that she created.
Still, this novel is worth a look for hardcore Poppy fans only. I would read "Lost Souls" and "Drawing Blood" before delving into this book, though.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
The few things I've read by this author in the past have not impressed me -- more splatterpunk than anything else. I was browsing through the mystery section at the book store and stumbled across this (obviously this book was in the wrong place). The back made is sound good, so I decided to read a few pages -- I was hooked! One of the serial killers describes a young man he picked up who had a tatoo across his neck that said "Cut Here" so the serial killer merely had to follow the directions! (this is on the 2nd page!)
The book is extremely gory -- for those of you who have a weak stomach you might want to pass on this one.
AIDS is a theme throughout the book. I found myself thinking how true some of her points were about the amount of research being done to find a cure and the extremes some people might feel like going to so that a cure could be focused on.
This is the best book I have read by this author -- and ranked in my top books I have read. This book is a must read for anyone who is into horror -- but it might spoil you for others...
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By David D. Warner on June 16, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
All the while I was reading EXQUISITE CORPSE, Poppy Z. Brite's most recent full-length novel, I kept asking myself what I would say if a stranger on the subway asked me what I was reading. Would I lie? Would I say, "Just the latest murder mystery"? How could I possibly describe this book to my mother without having her hide the cutlery and cry herself to sleep over the tortured state of my mental health? Would my adult siblings forever ban me from spending time alone with their children if they knew the horrors I had witnessed - and in which I had vicariously participated - while strolling between the covers of this harmless looking paperback? Is there anyone in the world to whom I could feel wholly comfortable recommending this book? Probably not, if I were honest with myself. My squeaky clean could not withstand the stress.
As with her previous novels, Poppy Z. Brite is as uncompromising on theme as she is on imagery. Forget Anne Rice! Brite shines darkly as the unchallenged Maven of the Macabre. Her prose is virtuosic - she lures you in with a sweet scent and then devours you with a heady, but often painful bite. Yet even though the actual words printed on the pages of this book paint bloody images of torture, grisly serial murder, heinous acts of cannibalism and unbounded necrophelia, EXQUISITE CORPSE might very well be one of the most powerful statements about the consequences of hate, bigotry and loneliness to ever survive the mass-market censors. Yes, it lurid! By all means, it's WAY over the top. But it clearly gets your attention - like a pick-axe right between the eyes.
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More About the Author

I'm the author of eight novels, three short story collections, two nonfiction books, and some miscellanea. My earlier books -- LOST SOULS, DRAWING BLOOD, WORMWOOD, EXQUISITE CORPSE, THE LAZARUS HEART, ARE YOU LOATHSOME TONIGHT? (a.k.a. SELF-MADE MAN) -- tend toward the twisted, horrific, and frequently erotic. I still have a definite interest in this sort of thing, but my writing doesn't reflect it as much these days. My recent books -- THE VALUE OF X, THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, LIQUOR, PRIME, and the forthcoming SOUL KITCHEN -- all have to do (in varying degrees) with a couple of young New Orleans chefs named Rickey and G-man, their families, and their restaurant, Liquor. I've been married to a chef for 16 years now and he's still bringing me new stories. We lost our home in Hurricane Katrina, but we are back in New Orleans and doing our best to help rebuild the city. I'll note new books, anthology appearances and such here, but to read my day-to-day blog, please visit http://docbrite.livejournal.com/

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