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The Marbled Swarm Paperback – November 1, 2011

3.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A mesmerizing, labyrinthine tour through an especially hellish father-son relationship.” (Vanity Fair)

“Provocative...Cooper’s interest in the darkest corners of the human experience...has not dimmed with age. The novel’s contradictory narratives intentionally echo the secret passageways in which the narrator’s predatory activities take place, creating a baroque, voyeuristic effect. (New Yorker)

The Marbled Swarm is concerned as much with language as it is with relationships and power….His fantastical story of everyday cannibalism is told in such finely chiseled yet disorienting prose that you suspect you’re being led into a maze.” (OUT Magazine)

“Cooper’s status as an underground renegade of experimental fiction doesn’t reduce his talent or the brilliance of his dark views. He is a passionately humane writer. We need his voice now more than ever.” (Paste Magazine)

“… lies somewhere in between Lolita and Dracula, mixing the gothic terror and disturbing subject of both, within a contemporary bi-sexual, skinny jeaned, iPhone-totting environment, and a much further push of the envelope. … a novel that must be read.” (The Coffin Factory)

“In The Marbled Swarm, Cooper has coupled a clever intellectual romp with stomach-turning brutality and quite a bit of humor.” (Washington Independent Book Review)

“…deftly executed plot surgery…” (Nylon Magazine)

“The most personal, and honest [of Cooper’s] daring, perplexing books.” (BookForum)

“Readers unfamiliar with transgressive fiction would do well to brace themselves for what will either be the shock of the unrelentingly different or, perhaps, the shock of recognizing writing that speaks to their souls.” (Booklist)

“… language every bit as thrilling, rapt, and brain-waking as we could want from one of our living legends…” (Fanzine)

“Patient and careful readers will be rewarded for their diligent attention to the text with a controversial, dazzling and intelligent work of literature.” (Bookreporter.com)

“There is a brutal honesty to this novel, a brutal wisdom.” (Barnes & Noble's "Unabashedly Bookish")

The Marbled Swarm cumulates mystery, desire, and connections as it appears to shed mystery, desire, and connections; magic. Or sleight of hand....This book is great art.” (HTMLGIANT)

The Marbled Swarm is a mindbending masterpiece from one of my all-time favorite writers. It is vivid, slippery, ferocious, and rich with secrets. Nobody else could have written this novel and nothing else like it exists.” (Justin Taylor, author of The Gospel of Anarchy and Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever)

“Disquieting, humbling, and sadly beautiful in the way only Dennis Cooper can be, The Marbled Swarm is a mystifying and courageous novel that represents his finest work to date.” (Patrick deWitt, author of The Sisters Brothers and Ablutions)

“This gorgeously warped brain-bender of a novel… reimagines the family romance (fathers-and-sons side only) in perfections of language that will startle and seduce you anew on every page. The Marbled Swarm is Dennis Cooper’s most genius-haunted achievement.” (Gary Lutz, author of Stories in the Worst Way)

From the Back Cover

The Marbled Swarm is Dennis Cooper’s most haunting work to date. In secret passageways, hidden rooms, and the troubled mind of our narrator, a mystery perpetually takes shape—and the most compelling clue to its final nature is “the marbled swarm” itself, a complex amalgam of language passed down from father to son.

Cooper ensnares the reader in a world of appearances, where the trappings of high art, old money, and haute cuisine obscure an unspeakable system of coercion and surrender. And as the narrator stalks an elusive truth, traveling from the French countryside to Paris and back again, the reader will be seduced by a voice only Dennis Cooper could create.

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 73%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061715638
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061715631
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #876,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Petra Kim on October 15, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like Dennis Cooper's work but also thought I had a handle on it, but this book genuinely caught me off guard, doing things with the language that I wasn't expecting. Amazing sentences, a kind of fever dream, with dark Sadean content. This is Dennis Cooper at his best.
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By just-a-body on August 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
"lies somewhere in between Lolita and Dracula, mixing the gothic terror and disturbing subject of both, within a contemporary bi-sexual, skinny jeaned, iPhone-totting environment, and a much further push of the envelope. ... a novel that must be read" - The Coffin Factory
A book for sadists, for masochists, for connoisseurs of the finest meats
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Prepare to be confounded.

This is a confusing, beautiful, funny, violent, explicit, subversive, piece of art that will lead you down a road thinking you've got the gist of the narrative, then send you flying into left field. Definitely worth multiple reads. One of the most confusing and rewarding novels I've ever read.
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Dennis Cooper's most maddening book so far. I hated it so much the first time I read it that I had to read it again immediately. There's apparently a mystery in the book which is neither explicitly stated nor obviously solved. Characters overlap and overwrite each other, the plot sometimes becomes so dreamy that it almost ceases to exist, and then the sexual violence takes over. None of that should come as a surprise to someone's who's read Cooper before, but the intensity and indirectness of his style are all ratcheted up to maximum levels in this book. I can't say it's my favorite Cooper novel (that honor goes to The Sluts), but it is one of the most intriguing and frustrating. Maybe start with Frisk or Try and work your way up to this one? Unless you like literary puzzles, I guess. If you figure out the mystery, please let me know.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A little too verbose for my liking. I felt like I was reading from a thesaurus, but I suppose that's the point. The narrator wants to confuse you with his nonsensical ramblings. No really. He says it right there in the first chapter or so. But I think it came down to taste. Don't deny yourself on account of my review.
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Format: Paperback
For me, this book started out as a clever, sharp narrative with a narrator that was both brilliant and depraved, but as the story went on, the power of the narrative seemed to get weaker and weaker. I'm not sure if this was intentional, given the surprise ending, but I definitely went from being in awe of the writing to feeling disappointed as the prose wound down. Interesting, but ultimately unsatisfying.
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