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My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up Paperback – October 2, 2006
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"Stephen Elliott describes the sexual and emotional terrain in a voice that is at once feral and sweet, straightforward and complicated, devastating and funny as hell." -- San Francisco Bay Guardian
"Stephen Elliott knocks my fishnet stockings off." -- Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife
"There's an emotional courage to these stories, and a sense of urgency, that are thrilling to encounter. Elliott writes as if his life depended on each sentence." -- The Believer
"[A] profound, distilled work of art drink it and be transformed." -- Nick Flynn, author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City
"[Elliott is] a master of muted prose.... He conveys unmet yearning with a poignancy that is universal." -- San Francisco Chronicle
Top Customer Reviews
As a reviewer, I am faced with the challenge of communicating how powerful Elliott's narrative is, without just cutting and pasting an entire short story right here. My personal proclivities do not include the S&M lifestyle, but Elliott was able take me inside the mind of a lost, painfully confused, desperate man seeking sexual release and affirmation via domination by beautiful, powerful women. The sexual escapades, Elliott has stated in interviews, are all true, and they are recounted in intense, fervent detail. Elliott seeks sex in Amsterdam, Berlin, and ultimately San Francisco. He strips for money, exchanges sex for money and drugs, engages in long-term relationships with a woman who has a husband and a slave on the side in addition to our author, has weekly appointments for domination, and again, and again, desperately seeks submission to the next level of pain and helplessness. Along the way, he gives the reader a glimpse of the sexual and emotional abuse from his childhood, but always in a straightforward manner with nary a trace of pity.
Elliott is not writing for shock value, but for truth and beauty in his quest for pleasure and love. Beauty, in this case, is bittersweet, but still poetic and sincerely moving. Trust me--the best introduction to Elliot is to dive in to the first chapter. You won't be able to put this story collection down, though, so buy his book before you try out the first chapter. I finished it in one evening.Read more ›
"She was straddling me in her blue jeans when she said, "I'm not your father." She was still angry about something I had suggested, or that I had hurried her out of the bar and she hadn't finished her drink. It was all made up. A game. But I started to feel sad when she mentioned my father. I have such an awful relationship with my father. Aren't you supposed to forgive and forget stuff? I was thirteen when I left home. It's been seventeen years since he caught me and beat me and shaved my head and the state took custody and I became a ward of the court. We try to mend things but I get these letters from him and it's just too much. He thinks he's the victim. Like I have victimized him by making him out to be such a horrible father.Read more ›
First off, great title! Truly great. Secondly, alas, it's also a bad book on which to hang that great title. In fact, although I know I'll take heat for saying this--boy oh boy I just know I will---this collection of pseudo-autobiographical short stories about the author's self-congratulatorily deviant sex life is barely readable. The stories here are unevenly laid out, way too egocentric, and they rapidly become tiring with their progression of one set of buttocks after another beaten in pursuit of erotic gratification. In fact I'll wager that if you were awestruck by these stories, then odds are you're probably under twenty-five and haven't been exposed to a lot of truly good writing in this particular field.
Page thirty-one: "She wanted to hit me across the back with a chain. But still, even as I'm missing her, and knowing that I will see her again, the question stays with me. The idea of two people finding each other. A person who wants to be hurt and another who wants to hurt someone. We've never had sex. We won't have sex. I've never seen her naked. I just don't understand where it comes from that someone could say such a thing."
Now imagine a couple hundred pages of this sort of prose and subject material and you'll see why I didn't think this short story collection was all it was hyped to be. I mean, come on, couldn't you write better than that? Couldn't most English majors you know?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a discontinuous collection of short stories which, as a whole, forms itself into some sort of a memoir. Read morePublished on April 22, 2014 by MaleReader
I like reading Stephen Elliot because it feels like I am hearing a story from an old buddy. Maybe I have had some twisted friends in my life? Read morePublished on March 16, 2012 by K. Rennie
The real question in Stephen Elliott's short story collection My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up is not whether these tales are autobiographical or not (though Elliott... Read morePublished on January 28, 2008 by Rachel Kramer Bussel