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Permanent Obscurity: Or a Cautionary Tale of Two Girls and Their Misadventures with Drugs, Pornography and Death Paperback – April 1, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0971341548 ISBN-10: 0971341540

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Ludlow Press (April 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971341540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971341548
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,938,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Ready-made for Russ Meyer—
assuming, that is, if Meyer was around and still at his peak."
Josh Alan Friedman,
Tales of Times Square
, When Sex Was Dirty

"The American Baise-Moi!"
--Lynn Breedlove, Godspeed

From the Author

We all have bad days....

More About the Author

Initially published in literary digests, Richard Perez has also written for The New York Times. His first novel, THE LOSERS' CLUB (aka: The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition) has three foreign translations to date: Korean, Turkish, Italian. PERMANENT OBSCURITY: or a Cautionary Tale of Two Girls and Their Misadventures with Drugs, Pornography, and Death -- his second novel -- also reflects his infatuation with bohemia and willful nonconformists.

PERMANENT OBSCURITY: Or a Cautionary Tale of Two Girls
and Their Misadventures with Drugs, Pornography and Death by Dolores Santana
(as told to Richard Perez)

A youthful bohemian satire,
a story of alienated nonconformists,
a "girls on the lam" story,
a sexploitation and S/M romp,
a spoof of cult celebrity and "true-life" tabloid sensationalism:

"Richard Perez has the ears of the angels--lend him yours."
--Barry Gifford, author: WILD AT HEART, PERDITA DURANGO

"Perez's is an exciting talent and his work goes far beyond most of what is published today."
--Henry Flesh, author: MICHAEL and the Lambda Literary Award-winner,


My first novel, THE LOSERS' CLUB, which is a romantic comedy set in the 1990s:

"Every generation must describe for itself what it means to be a young writer or artist struggling with anonymity and a mountain of rejection slips in a city like New York. Richard Perez's THE LOSERS' CLUB tracks the poet Martin Sierra's melancholy and yet somehow humorous and hopeful life with an acid, yet not unsympathetic, pen. Perez has written a sharp, quick-paced satire of the personal ads subculture and the generally doomed semi-relationships it leads to, the bizarre and manic club life, where slam-dancing and other dangerous sports fail to mask the chronic - one might say terminal - loneliness of the participants. I especially like how the kaleidoscopic whirl of people and objects energizes the author and delights the reader with an almost photographic sense of time and place."
--Robert Siegel, author: Best-selling author of THE WHALESONG TRILOGY

"Richard Perez's THE LOSERS' CLUB moves fast without blurring, and documents New York City in all its self-invented variety: kitsch/retro bars and cafes, goth vampires, dyke rock bands, desperately clever personal ads, the endless cruise for a parking space, and loneliness so relentless its victims wind up feeling stillborn. In its quicksilver way, Perez's novel manages to be cheerful, bleak, and edgy all at once."
--John Vernon, author: A BOOK OF REASONS, PETER DOYLE

Set in downtown New York City, THE LOSERS' CLUB tells the story of Martin Sierra, an unlucky writer addicted to the personals. His journey brings us into the East Village, pre-9/11 -- and in contact with Nikki, his dream woman, who remains unattainable romantically yet becomes his friend and confidant during his illuminating misadventures. A romantic comedy and coming-of-age story involving misfits.

More Author's Opinions:

"I was hooked. I couldn't put it down until I finished.... I was simply impressed that these were real, instantly recognizable people ... poor lonely bastards of every stripe resorting to utter humiliation and personal endangerment in the barest hope of hooking up with a kindred spirit. It's a brave book with a great deal of heart."
--Poppy Z. Brite, author: LOST SOULS, LIQUOR: A NOVEL

"A story of youth, very well told, and it dwells in the mind long after a reader finishes it." --Joanne Greenberg, author: I NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN

"A very beautiful valentine to a time and place almost faded from existence."
--Mary Gaitskill, author: BAD BEHAVIOR, VERONICA

"Funny and endearing--and wisely not so hip as to avoid a good grab for your heart." --Marcie Hershman, author: SAFE IN AMERICA, TALES OF THE MASTER RACE

"Richard Perez is a clear-eyed chronicler of the New York club scene and a compassionate observer of the lives lived in the carnival at the center of the world. He is a sociologist and a historian, telling the truth about the way we live now. He's funny, honest, and compassionate. We can only hope that THE LOSERS' CLUB is but the first act in Richard Perez's Human Comedy."

"THE LOSERS' CLUB evokes a real and genuine sense of place--the world of the East Village--and people--single, young and desperate--written with zest, energy and enthusiasm."
--Tama Janowitz, author: SLAVES OF NEW YORK

"Funny, touching, and very much alive, THE LOSERS' CLUB throbs with the subculture of East Village night life. Buoyant and highly entertaining--I couldn't put it down."
--Stanley Cohen, author: ANGEL FACE

"THE LOSERS' CLUB gives a complete panoramic view of the downtown New York scene of the '90s, and along with all its flamboyant extremes... this novel has an appealingly old fashioned love story at its core."
--Madison Smartt Bell, author: ALL SOULS' RISING, TEN INDIANS

"A fast, fun read."
--Richard Rhodes, author: A HOLE IN THE WORLD, THE MAKING OF THE ATOM BOMB, Pulitzer Prize Winner

"Rich Perez is a rare writer who moves with ease through the blasted lyric pain of childhood, the mysterious and sensuous and powerless world of being a kid, into the spotty drastic charm of '90s downtown flashy and downtrodden New York...having arrived at adulthood so that he can taste it with pleasure..."
--Eileen Myles, author: CHELSEA GIRLS, COOL FOR YOU

"Mr. Perez has written a kind of contemporary fable of his generation's life in Manhattan, a fable at once humorous and poignant."

"THE LOSERS' CLUB is a fine novel. Richard Perez has a wonderful eye for details of the club scene and the humor to be found in urban decay. It is a book to be savored."
--Tim Sandlin, Sorrow Floats, Social Blunders

"Richard Perez's THE LOSERS' CLUB is a bittersweet trip through the East Village.... It's a tale of love lost and found among the coffee shops, mosh pits and art galleries. Take it from someone who's spent half a lifetime archiving the scene--this one's spot on!"
--Ron Kolm, poet, author, member of the Unbearables

"THE LOSERS' CLUB is a vibrant and hopeful anthem for all of us 'losers' who choose not to wallow (for too long!) in our despair and who find the will to keep searching."
--Heather Lowcock, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Lexington KY*


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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 85 customer reviews
It is well written and the character development is very solid.
Chris Hockenberry
Thanks to Richard Perez's unique style of contemporary storytelling, Permanent Obscurity is a page-turner from the opening paragraph.
I found myself wanting more time to read without putting the book down to see what would happen next.
judith ann dickinson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lauri Crumley Coates VINE VOICE on August 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
Permanent Obscurity: Or a Cautionary Tale of Two Girls and
Their Misadventures with Drugs, Pornography and Death
Author: Richard Perez
Published by Ludlow Press
ISBN: 978-097134154-8

It's tough to decide where to start with this novel. I loved it, I couldn't put it down. The characters and situations invaded my thoughts even when I wasn't reading it. At the same time, it's a bit disturbing, bizzare and odd. Of course, I mean those words in the most complimentary way possible.

Taking place predominately in the East Village, circa 2006, this is the tale of two best friends, Dolores Santana and Serena Moon. Both the bohemian "artsy" types, by most standards they lead very eccentric and random lives. Serena is a performer, she's been a singer in any number of bands, none lasting too long. She does whatever comes along to scratch out the financial means needed to fund her lifestyle. Most of the money she uses comes from Sebastian, aka Baby, a man who serves as a submissive or slave to Mistress Serena's dominating and dominatrix personality. Dolores is an artist, mainly in photo media, and supports her art work and lifestyle with a never ending string of temporary jobs, mind-numbing and soul-stealing jobs, but a necessary evil nonetheless. Raymond is her significant other, an older lawyer who always tries to get Dolores to think more seriously and professionally about her art.

Serena and Dolores are larger than life, two alienated non-conformists, sharing a strange and unusually intense relationship in every sense of the word. In Perez's novel, the girls embark on a mindbending orgy of drugs, petty crime, porn and more, leading to an ending nothing short of inspired and genius.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By 20somethingbibliophile on November 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
There isn't anything to spoil it in my review, but since I thought it was terrible you can just skip to the end and read the last paragraph or two, my summary of the book and final thoughts.

At first look the book purports itself to be a satire of Bohemia and and 60s "sexploitation" films. In my opinion it was a story about a couple of girls who never grew up and decided to try to find an easy way out of the hole they had dug themselves in.

Dolores and Serena, main characters, are about as different as they come. Dolores is an average sized, average looking, average photographer addicted to drugs and alcohol. She works at a temp agency because she's too afraid to really get out there and try to publish her art. Serena is pure feminine perfection with a selfish demeanor. She has no job and no real skills other than her looks and her ability to manipulate those around her.

To put it simply, I hated the characters. Serena was a manipulative bitch from word one and never changed. She was always out for herself and never stopped to question consequences. She was ruled by her id. When she wanted drugs she manipulated and weaseled drugs out of someone. When she wanted to feel powerful, she found someone willing to play her submissive. She exploited those around her for her personal gain. I wanted to strangle her on a regular basis through the story.

Other than hating the characters, I hated the dialogue. Talking in such dialect and slang through the whole story set my teeth on edge. I realize that the characters are uneducated and uncouth in every way, but at least some of the narrative should have been in standard, grammatically correct, English. The volgarity of the language (and some of the plot) left much to be desired as well.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lyle R on July 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
Permanent Obscurity, fascinated me from the beginning. I didn't know anything about it really, but when I read a quote from Richard Perez that said the novel needed some explanation, I was sold. That usually means that it's raw and uncensored. Here's what he wrote:

"It's specifically an exploitation novel, written in that vernacular, which some might regard as "low brow" or vulgar. And it delves into BDSM territory with these two young ladies taking the dominatrix (exploitation) route."

But I'm not sure that any of that really matters. Or rather the question is not so much an issue of "low" or "high brow" but of pornography. How does one write a novel about pornography (at least in part), in this instance one female character taking on the role of female dominatrix?1 It is inherently a tightrope act and Perez' balance is struck by couching the entire novel as a confession. The novel's subtitle is "A Cautionary Tale." So the "vulgar" parts are actually Dolores Santana's (the confessor) retelling of a story written by someone else (the script, for example, of a femdom movie Dolores and Serena, her best friend, make) through Perez' supposed recording. I like this. It's pleasantly convoluted and allows Perez to be honest with the material, which means that it is not a novel for squeamish readers. But I was forewarned about the subject -- not that it would have made any difference to me.

Juxtaposed with the story within a story point of view, is the tone of the story. It is written largely in dialog: quick, simple conversations that keep the story moving (a plot that the characters seem unable to escape, like fate).
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