- Hardcover: 214 pages
- Publisher: MacAdam/Cage Publishing; 1st edition (October 9, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1931561753
- ISBN-13: 978-1931561754
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,097,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dermaphoria Hardcover – October 9, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Clevenger's second novel (after 2002's The Contortionist's Handbook) opens with a classic grabber: an amnesiac man awakes in jail with a woman's name—Desiree—on his lips. Prodded by a pushy police detective, that man (his name is Eric Ashworth, he's told) must sift through the contents of his drug-addled brain to explain his only memory: "A ball of fire rising from a flaming house. Nails melting like slivers of silent wax. Beams and shingles collapsing into a pile of burning dust...." Released on bail, Eric checks into a flophouse and attempts to separate his ongoing drug hallucinations from reality. To aid him in this quest he turns to the doubtful promise of yet another drug, a powerful hallucinogen known on the street as Skin, Cradle or Derma. Eric's trip toward understanding, as well as the reader's, twists through exotic visions that may or not be real. It's a long, painful process, but eventually Eric puts it all together and learns who he is—and the terrible thing that he's done. This is a sometimes brilliant, heavily stylized novel whose psychedelic prose and labyrinthine story line will enthrall some readers and enrage others. At one point Clevenger counsels both Eric and the reader: "Anything is possible and nothing is possible. They're the same thing." Yes, that's it exactly. (Oct.)
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...reminiscent of William Gibson's work, but Clevenger has his own attitude and a film-noirish literary style that is unique. -- San Francisco Chronicle, August 28, 2005
Clevengers trademark voice and pace are as good as ever, but the settings are his greatest triumph. -- Santa Barbara Independent, October 6, 2005
Dermaphoria advances Clevengers dark art, powerfully evoking the paranoia of a man attempting to reconstruct his life. -- San Francisco Magazine, November 2005
Gloriously shifty puzzle-fiction whose resolution is much less important than the kaleidoscopic journey towards it. -- Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2005
Top Customer Reviews
Freakin' amazing, I don't know how else to say it. I'm going to push this book hard on people -- it deserves to be read by everyone, if only to show them the power that words can have when used by a master. I enjoyed this even more than The Contortionist's Handbook, and that is no small feat.
If you enjoyed Dermaphoria or The Contortionist's Handbook, you may also like the works of Will Christopher Baer. Thank you Craig!
Eric's learned memory is also effected. He is able to recall some chemical formulas, the concept of profit and loss, and still possesses a minor ability to devise better ways to zone people out through the wonders of modern chemistry. However, he had been "unique" before the lab explosion, and the overdose that erased eight seconds worth of his gray matter. Ashworth is "irreplaceable" to those who hired him. He had possessed brilliance - the ability, perhaps, to cure diseases like cancer. Instead he chose to design and produce recreational drugs. Discovered and backed by big bucks from an underworld honcho, Eric and his multitude of skills went to work, producing and distributing drugs. He received, and still does, dire threats from a toady thug and his retarded, violent son as to what they will do to him if he blows the job - literally and figuratively.
There is an image that occasionally flashes across his mind. "A ball of fire, half the size of the house itself rose to the sky. Beautiful." "Between the flash and the roar, there wasn't any space at all."
Ashworth's lawyer, whom he doesn't remember meeting, bails him out of the clink and takes him to a low rent dive, Hotel Firebird, Room 621, where his neighbors are pimps, whores, buyers, sellers, and lots of bugs.Read more ›
It was decades ago, experimenting with psychedelics, when my mind first opened to questioning and pondering the nature of reality. In Dermaphoria reality, as filtered through experience, memory, and hallucenogens, is hauntingly ambiguous.
Mankind's insatiable desiring/proclivity toward addiction, also a theme of DFW's brilliant "Infinite Jest" is beautifully articulated in chapter ten, IE:
" Every identical act is distinguished by its intent and every intent is judged by its action...Everything in the universe is everything else. A man is a killer is a saint is a monkey is a cockroach is a goldfish is a whale, and the Devil is just an angel who asked for MORE.Read more ›
What I most enjoyed about this story were 1) the great sensitivity of the main character; 2) the brilliant & concise writing style and 3) Clevenger's mastery of metaphorical writing, which I admire greatly. He uses this style to its greatest effect & better than any writer I have read. What makes his metaphors stand out is that they are completely unique which makes their impact that much greater.
I found the story to be interesting as well, although a little bit confusing. But that is to be somewhat expected with stories that blur the line between reality and the imagination. By the book's end, I felt that I understood correctly what had occurred, but maybe not. And maybe that is part of the mastery of this story.
I am greatly looking forward to the film version of this book, which is currently in production. It will be very interesting to see how many of the books ideas & visuals-whether real or imagined- are played out onscreen.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This author is one of the great noir writers and makes you want to find more of these gems out there.Published 15 months ago by CMack
Loved the way this author wrote. Unusual story line with an enigmatic quality to it! Wish this author had something new on the stands. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Verna Morfeld
A review of DERMAPHORIA (Craig Clevenger)
by Dr. Joseph Suglia, the Greatest Author in the World
Did you know that most "Alpha Males" are, in fact, Beta... Read more
Great read, highly recommended, especially if you liked fight club or choke. Check out his other titles too, The Contortionists Hand Book is great.Published 22 months ago by JW
Imagine Breaking Bad and Naked Lunch combined. Manic subterfuge, layered hallucinations. This would make a perfect movie by David Lynch. Read morePublished on September 15, 2013 by Vivian K. Cherry
Dermaphoria is the kind of poetic long lament that is possible in human life. Not that everyone is lucky enough to experience such painful things. Read morePublished on March 1, 2013 by KillahDoll
I thoroughly loved this book from beginning to end. Clevenger eloquently spun a masterful tale of love, drugs, and amnesia.Published on January 11, 2013 by Evelyn
Craig Clevenger is brilliant. One of the best new writers our there. Intrinsic plot lines, great chatterers. Always looking forward to his next book.Published on December 22, 2012 by AJ