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The Sluts Paperback – October 19, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; Reprint edition (October 19, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786716746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786716746
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #493,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. A return to form—in the sense of incorporating frank depictions of sexualized violence—Cooper's latest follows on the heels of God Jr. (Reviews, May 16), which tells the story of a marriage's disintegration in the wake of an adolescent boy's death. This book, too, features a dead boy—or at least the fantasy of one. The title men are denizens of a Web chat site that reviews the performance of hustlers such as Brad, a blond who looks like an angelic teen but is probably older, and who may or may not have been killed, or snuffed, by a john. Time wobbles in the book. Brad's passivity drives a certain type of dominant to distraction, and Brad gets rave after rave review, rendered by Cooper with deadpan perfection. But as Brad peaks and then begins to decline, Cooper pieces together his Portland, Ore., backstory, and hardcore s&m moves to blood and mutilation. Brad is eventually pimped out by a man named Brian for "the ultimate" with a Web regular who may be a serial killer—one who first comes to an agreement with his victims on a price for killing them. The eerie matter-of-factness with which all of this is discussed is what makes this neo-epistolary novel fascinating, and certainly the best extant work on extreme queer s&m Internet culture in any genre. (Nov.)
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A dizzying pileup of bareback breeding, castration procedures, master-slave mind games, boyband necrophilia fantasies, and consensual snuff sex, The Sluts is this will sound strange the most enjoyable of Dennis Cooper's novels to date. It's a guilty pleasure, not in the middlebrow conception of the term, but in a radical, almost interactive sense: The reader, assuming the implicated vantage of the avid voyeur, cannot help suffering a twinge of complicity. --Dennis Lim, Village Voice

Cooper deserves reassessment, but until an Oprahesque crossover occurs, this compelling page turner ought to remind adventurous readers that important transgressive literature needn't be something only the French and the occasional perverted American can get behind. --Brandon Stosuy, L.A. Weekly

Not for the squeamish this sick, hilarious fictional excursion into the depths of hustler fantasy is for readers who appreciate Cooper s brilliant ability to dig truthfully into depravity. A paper edition was published in October by Carroll & Graf, but it's not as handsome as Void Books' original signed, limited edition. --Richard Labonte, San Francisco Bay Times --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

Or maybe it was just that Cooper has such a fun time with his twisty plot.
Jose Jones
I loved this book, couldnt stop reading it, it is at the same time sexual (but not reeally pornografic), intense and funny sometimes.
Silvana R. J. Franco
Either no one bothered to review and correct the errors, or it's some kind of literary gimmick that evades me.
Ignacio Carrion

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Brandon Whitfeld on October 31, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I remember reading my first Dennis Cooper novel when I was like 19 or 20, an assignment, believe it or not, for my Gay Fiction class. I devoured Frisk while curled up on a couch hidden in some corner in some alcove in some University office somewhere. It captivated and terrified me, and when I walked outside into the blazing sunlight afterward, I felt like the world I had known and grown accustomed to had melted away, leaving exposed the ragged skeleton of whatever reality had always been there, breathing furtively, one eye coolly surveying, waiting to be discovered.

If the world wasn't populated with so much detritus in the name of art, literature, film, and music then maybe Cooper wouldn't be as fragile and desperately invaluable as I think he is. Truth be told, Frisk and the rest of the early books of what came to be known as the George Miles Cycle is some of the most effective and dangerous writing I have ever happened upon. And that's really what great writing, what great art really should be about: dangerous, disturbing, disquieting, and diligent about the first three d's. Right?

I'll be honest, I haven't thought much of Cooper's last coupla efforts. God Jr. read like a bad WB movie of the week, and Period and My Loose Thread were slight and hesitant. The Sluts is the first of his books in a long while that finds and reaps the true power of Cooper's bleak vision and fiery writing. The Sluts is for intelligent people. Not puffed-up hysterics who can't see the (pitch) black humor masquerading as horror. That's not to say it is for all tastes. Some will hate this book: it is compelling and aggressively unpleasant, ugly and hilarious, deeply effective and yet cause for concern.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Joey Comeau on October 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
Dennis Cooper's new novel, The Sluts, opens with an online review of a hustler named "Brad" who has mental problems. A second review follows, and then a third. The novel is told through these reviews and through emails and posts on a website devoted to reviewing hustlers. The posts by these reviewers mix the empty, repeated, imitative language of pornography with a series of straightforward, honest sounding voices. And they lie.

They lie, and they admit to lying when they think it will help you believe their next lie. The saga of "Brad" on this website gets stranger and stranger and it becomes clear that the reviewers are obsessed. They are writing themselves into the story. We only rarely hear from Brad himself, who might have a brain tumor, who might be fourteen or eighteen or something in between, who might be real. The story that you piece together conflicts with itself and sprawls. He's in prison. His boyfriend has hired him out for violent sex and a man pays to break his legs during the act. Another man pays to cut his face and murder him. Only, maybe not.

In the end, what's real is unimportant. This is a novel about the reviewers themselves. It's about their obsessions and about their ability to live inside their own heads. The sex described is brutal and graphic and unreal and maybe none of it ever happens and maybe some of it does. In any case, The Sluts is good. It's interesting and perverted and boring and relentless and numbing and I felt like throwing the book across the room a dozen times in anger. This is a frustrating and worthwhile book about voyeurism and fantasy and you are a pervert for even reading a review about it.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jose Jones on April 15, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Outside of his short, different-genre "God Jr.," which was brilliant, I found Cooper's last few efforts disappointing. Mostly it seemed like Cooper was disengaged and even bored by his own writing (he hinted at this a bit in some of his meta-fiction). "The Sluts," though, is one of Cooper's best, and he seems fully invigorated. Maybe the style of the book -- chat postings and E-mails -- tweaked things just enough to get him interested, or maybe it's just that that stylistic decision works so well with his acoustic prose.

Or maybe it was just that Cooper has such a fun time with his twisty plot. The novel tells the story of a typical Cooper character -- a young, androgynous kid with a lot of problems -- and all the older men who want to use and exploit him. The setting and denizens are all typical Cooper. So is the extreme sex and violence. Cooper's genre is of the pedophile-and-child-killer variety, but he gives vibrant life to these deviants, and his prose is so beautifully unadorned and perfect that he can make these ungodly subjects fascinating. Cooper's brand of evil is the scariest kind: blunt and matter of fact. Cooper is one of the few authors who can still make me shiver and wince, and "The Sluts" does that plenty.

"The Sluts" -- even with its pretzel plot -- once again explores man's primal, violent urges, which exist in all of us, and reveals how we lose ourselves in our dark fantasies.

To those who are shocked that this book contains "graphic images": what did you expect? Even a few seconds of research will tell you that Cooper is a very intense author who holds nothing back.

If you're like me and felt Cooper's last few books -- "Period," "My Loose Thread" -- weren't as good as his earlier novels, "The Sluts" is a must. It is a deliriously assured return to form.
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