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My Loose Thread (Cooper, Dennis) Paperback – Bargain Price, June 19, 2003

3.9 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cooper's latest, after a loosely intertwined series of novels ending with Period, stays firmly rooted in the same bleak, volatile landscape as his past works involving neglected, gay teenaged boys. Perpetually distraught teenager Larry, whose mantra is "I'm really confused," joins forces with a friend who has been approached at school by older classmate Gilman Crowe, leader of a Nazi-style teen group, and hired to kill a student for $500 and destroy his notebook, basically a diary containing the boys' personal secrets. The deed is done, but not exactly according to plan, and the violence continues. Larry and his 13-year-old brother habitually sneak into bed with each other, though Larry continues to be at war with his burgeoning homosexuality. An alcoholic mother and cancer-stricken father offer little supervision, and Larry's brutal rages escalate. When another of Larry's friends, Rand, tells him his incestuous relationship is "sick," Larry punches him; Rand dies soon afterward, apparently of natural causes, but Larry is crushed by guilt and haunted by the death. Cooper's bleak, potent tale wraps up in a Columbine-style climax, complete with smirking, self-righteous students watching the bloodbath with amusement. Cooper doesn't cover much new territory with this latest ultraviolent tale of boys gone wrong, but Larry's first-person narration is mesmerizing and believable. Those new to Cooper may be better off starting elsewhere in his oeuvre, especially since it can be hard to follow the sequence of events in this spare, dialogue-driven tale. Still, Cooper fans will likely eat this up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Elegant prose and literary lawlessness . . . In another country or another era, Cooper's books would be circulated in secret, explosive samizdat editions that friends and fans would pass around and savor like forbidden absinthe . . . high risk literature."  —New York Times


"Dennis Cooper, God help him, is a born writer."  —William Burroughs


"Larry's first-person narration is mesmerizing and believable. . . . Cooper fans will likely eat this up."  —Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • Series: Cooper, Dennis
  • Paperback: 130 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate UK (June 19, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841954128
  • ASIN: B007K53JIS
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 6.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,435,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
To say that Dennis Cooper's "My Loose Thread" is a tough read would be an understatement. In fact it would be a gross understatement. For "MLT" is a story about Larry, a whacked-out teenager heading for his own destruction at the speed of light: both unaware and seemingly uncaring about his own descent into oblivion and ultimately death.
"MLT" tells the story of the deep underbelly of suburban, privileged teenage life: a life that many of us would rather not hear about. But, to Cooper's credit he does not shy away from the realities of this life and just like the drawing on the book sleeve, we emerge psychically bloodied from the experience of reading about it.
The bare bones of the story involve Larry, his brother Jim, friends named Rand (dead at the beginning of the novella), Jude (Larry's erstwhile Girlfriend) and Gilman-a skinhead who has hired Larry to murder a fellow student (known only as "the boy") for no reason other than for Gilman to possess the boy's notebook. There are also a couple of reporters called the "Franks"" who are following Larry and Jim ("I guess she's writing about guys in high school and depression.")
Larry is the narrator and it is very difficult at times to follow his thoughts which he expresses through a kind of adolescent, valley-boy stream of consciousness:" ...she can see depressed guys like we're ghosts. We don't have to move. We don't even have to talk to her first. She says my problem is rage mixed with some bigger word, so I don't interest her...at first I was thinking she'd save me from Jim if she used the right words, but he's too complicated so far. That's her thing...I used to care what was wrong with Jim too, he made it seem that what I did to him helped, but I guess I was sick, and it didn't.
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Format: Hardcover
Dennis Cooper, My Loose Thread (Canongate, 2001)

My Loose Thread is above all a difficult book to read. Not just because Cooper is obviously a born-and-bred postmodern writer, but because this is not subject matter that's going to sit well with most folks, and the confusion engendered by both the style and having a narrator who gives new meaning to the word "unreliable" can make this book into something of a chore. However, once you get down to the meat of the novel, it's worth it.

Larry is a teen who is, shall we say, somewhat messed up. He's having problems dealing with confusion. A whole lot of problems, in fact. Not only is he struggling with his emerging homosexuality (he denies, to himself and others, that he's gay, but it's pretty obvious to the reader he's in denial), which comes out in part in a sexual relationship with his younger brother, but also with the death of his friend Rand after the two of them fought. Even though Rand seems to have died of natural causes, Larry can't help but blame himself, for relatively obvious reasons. Thanks (we gather) due to the new mystique surrounding Larry in certain circles as a result of Rand's death, he's been approached by Gilman Crowe, head of the school's Nazi sect, to kill a fellow student and get the kid's notebook. (Whether Larry is then supposed to turn the notebook over to Crowe or destroy it is a piece of the puzzle which shifts throughout the novel.) As the book opens, Larry is doing the deed with the help of his on-again off-again girlfriend Jude and her other lover Pete; Larry comes into possession of the notebook, reads it, and finds his world tilting even further askew. Why this is, we never quite find out, but some conclusions can be drawn by the rest of the novel's events.
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By A Customer on August 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
every time i read a dennis cooper book, i think, "good god. he can't do anything better than this," and then the next book always makes me revise it. this one did that again, but in a farm more sophisticated way.
in the first part of the book, i wondered if this was going to be a different version of _frisk_, in which the reader is made to secretly enjoy the atrocities performed by the protagonist. while i like that idea a lot, it doesn't really make a book that i'd cherish, like i did _closer_ and _try_.
but dennis did something that is both fantastic and harrowing. he made the protagonist into a beatiful person who i could love. i saw pieces of myself and others in him and found myself excusing his actions toward other people.
the parts that stand out the most are the recurrent paragraphs in which cooper reveals a little more about what happened with Rand, the failed interactions between the protagonist and his brother (the snap on the jeans... wow), and the description of the boy (curling up on the couch in particular). cutting, crying during sex, someone not realizing they yelled until after they did it, and so on... this book is incredible.
maybe it's shock fiction, but it isn't *just* shock fiction. it's something more. there's a very humyn core that's beautiful and painful. the real visceral effect of this book comes from the emotions that it inspires with subtle waves of the hand and smirks... flashes of the horrific real winking at you. that makes it a million times as subversive as other shock books. this is real transgressive fiction.
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