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Guide (Cooper, Dennis) Paperback – August 6, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: Cooper, Dennis
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; 1st Pbk. Ed edition (August 6, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802135803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802135803
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #867,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Over the past 15 years Dennis Cooper has established himself as the preeminent spokesperson and chronicler for angst ridden teens in Los Angeles. In Closer, Frisk, and Try, Cooper delineated the existential crisis of gay teen boys with no place to go but down, nothing to look forward to but death. Cooper's plots usually revolve around the idea that there are people--usually older men--who are willing to help them with this last desire. Cooper tells a similar tale in Guide, but has placed himself in the middle of the action as a participant. Beautifully and chillingly written, Guide is Cooper's most disturbing, transgressive tale yet. A visionary masterpiece as sublime as it is frightening. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Those familiar with Cooper's work (Wrong, LJ 5/15/92) know that his fiction makes use of some unsavory, at times shocking, subject matter. Necrophilia and child pornography may be taboo in Cooper's world, but they are practiced nonetheless. Against a backdrop of pop culture, this first-person narrative chronicles the exploits of a half-dozen teens viewing life through the heavy veil of drugs and apathy. Though the story is as compelling as it is perverse, Cooper purposefully overrides it with an innovative style and raw, truthful character studies. Deeply lonely, the characters don't trust their own feelings and experience life in spurts. Interaction with anything outside themselves is a contest without a prize. There is a real elegance to the choppy waves of prose, which allow this work to transcend the form of the novel while working within it. With Guide, Cooper claims his place, alongside Genet and Burroughs, as a master of his own disenfranchised generation. For all literary fiction collections.?Douglas McClemont, New York
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Douglas King VINE VOICE on October 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
Dennis Cooper is an incredibly brave and original writer. His books, however, are not for the faint of heart. "Guide", which is part of a five book cycle that also includes "Closer", "Try", "Frisk", and "Period", is my favorite of his novels because he dares to include himself in the middle of his usual tales of drugs, abuse, exploitation, violence and depravity. He ingeniously draws from an article he wrote for "Spin" magazine about a handful of teenage runaways, and blends reality, fiction and fantasy to create a shocking and original novel. Is what takes place in "Guide" a truthful look into Cooper's own fantasy life? Or is it merely his way of showing how society sexually exploits and degrades young people? It's up to the reader to decide.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jemiah Jefferson on June 28, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't think there's anything profound about Dennis Cooper. As far as I can tell from having read this book and "Frisk", he writes the exact same book again and again, just changing the characters and circumstances slightly. Dennis has an agenda, and that's to make you squirm, if not with his nihilistic political worldview, with his graphic depictions of all manner of sexual expression, from remarking on the prettiness of pre-adolescent boys to rape, drugging, and dismemberment.
"Guide" is, as widely dicussed, probably the most celebrated piece of fanfiction ever written. Cooper gets props for writing a thinly disguised interlude wherein Alex from "Slur" gets picked up, stuffed full of roofies, and used as an amusing pawn in someone's fantasy life. It is extremely funny if you know anything about fanfiction, and has guaranteed him hundreds of sales from Blur fans desperate to pick up anything even vaguely smacking of their messiahs. (I am a fine example of this, as well as being interested in Cooper's oeuvre, and wondering if I could get through another of his books).
"Guide" is a little funnier than "Frisk", and that makes it a lot easier to get through. If you are even slightly upset or traumatized by the concepts of gay sex, pedophilia, or sexual violence, you would be well advised to stay away. However, if you think "Naked Lunch" is charming and brilliant, and you enjoy the smellier bits of "Le Chants de Maldoror" or "Our Lady of the Flowers", you'll totally dig "Guide", because it is really funny, if totally offensive to pretty much every slightly healthy member of society.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By jeremy on August 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read this book back to back with another that was dedicated to the author. I'd never heard of Dennis cooper so I didn't know what to expect. I was going to give it three stars but then I realized that was only because it was so upsetting. Along with how well written and engrossing it is, that's actually a reason to rate it higher, so I did. It was my own fear getting in the way. The real frustration was the absence of a moral stance. It's like Bret Easton Ellis that way - you have to make up your own mind about what's going on. You realize you're just getting angry because there's no re-assurance provided, you're totally immersed in a world with no ethical designations. This book is one of the more powerful I've read for that. I'd say this is about as transgressive and gutsy as writing gets. Glad I found it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 12, 1998
Format: Hardcover
It's been two years since I bought 'Try', and was eagerly awaiting 'Guide' to progress across the Pond to us here. The first chpater nearly put me off - the druggy stuff goes on for pages, and it's really quite boring, but I suppose the author thought it a necessary 'sub-guide' to clue in people unaccustomed to illegal substances. Anywa, donlt be put off by it. 'Guide' really takes off after that, and shows a new, more mature (maybe that should be 'more confident') I-character, now battling not so much with his desire to eviscerate young men but with apparently 'warm fuzzies' for Luke. Around them, various shades of disintergrating youth charge ever-onwards towards their inevitable end. Cooper's other stuff usually makes my chest hurt. This made me cry. The material is presented as bluntly as ever, and the array of characters displays Cooper's usual - and very welcome - attack on modern gay homogeneity. I canlt recommned this highly enough. No trite platitudes here, but a crystal clear vision of the compexities involved in any - not just desire-based -relationsships. Lots of questions and few answers - which,considering mostepople donlt even know there's a question to be pondered, is so healthy. Just read it. It's good people like Cooper write and long may he continue to do so.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is a remarkable account of several lost teenagers living in the LA area with the main character telling the story, which is the author. It has many scenes describing homosexual activity, rape, murder, snuff flim making, etc...The basic elements for nihilism on the West Coast. It's a good read for those who have a strong stomach and enjoy homoerotic text. Far more darker and intelligent than most books out there.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 25, 1998
Format: Paperback
Guide is the most brilliant book I've read in years. It amazes me to read some of the other reviews here. Cooper's readers seem to want him to continue to do what he did so brilliantly in Closer and Frisk, when he's outgrown that approach, and written a novel much more complex and deep, but with all the power of his earlier books. Guide proves Cooper is truly one of our greatest, most orginal and innovative writers. I can't recommend this novel highly enough.
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