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Dermaphoria Hardcover – October 9, 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • 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)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
What an experience. Dermaphoria has easily jumped into my top ten novels list. The writing is pure brilliance, the words had an instantaneous impact on my mental and physical state of being. At times I think I hallucinated, and had to reread sections to convince myself that what I read was real.

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!
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Format: Hardcover
Eric Ashworth, creative chemist, with a touch of entrepreneurial genius and a craving for exotic drugs, awakens in an L.A. jail, badly burned, thinking he's in Hell. He has amnesia. Poor guy can only remember the name "Desiree," but cannot recollect who or what the moniker is attached to. His knack for remembering past experiences is so shot, in fact, that the first cop he speaks with has to tell him his own name.

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am an avid reader and have never read anything like this before. Dermaphoria defies comparisons though there are echoes of Raymond Chandler, William S Burrough's, David Foster Wallace, and David Lynch. Clevenger has crafted not just a great novel here but a mind bending visceral experience. I found myself hijacked to experience the story through the protagonist's, Eric Ashworth, tortured mind and body. The imagery and metaphors are so well crafted, the reader almost experiences Ashworth's own: sights-"...a bucket of water so dark the mop head disappears beneath the turgid gray murk, shimmering with the pink and blue neon overhead". tastes-" The coffee tastes like dishwater boiled in a discarded tire.", smells-"The odor slaps me like the ass end of a summer garbage truck", sounds-"...the currents hum like angry locust trapped in my ears." and sensations- " Someone swapped my skull for another during the night. It's too big for my face, but too tight for my brain."
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Just finished reading this book about 20 minutes ago. I have read Craig Clevenger's first novel, "The Contortionist's Handbook" as well and enjoyed them both. I think that "Dermaphoria" was even better than "Contortionist's..." though, which is a good thing because as a writer, you always want to be improving.

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.
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