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The Painting of Porcupine City: A Novel Paperback – August 29, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ben Monopoli lives in Boston with his husband, Chris.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 388 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1475064101
  • ISBN-13: 978-1475064100
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #527,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jay Bell on September 4, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What you probably want to know from this review is if this book is any good. Rest assured, The Painting of Porcupine City is very, very good. Excellent in fact! The story is about two men, one who lacks direction in life, the other that's well aware of his destiny and is seeking a way of getting there. One of these characters, Mateo, is so lovable that you'll be sighing his name into your pillow at night. The other, Fletcher, is far from perfect, but it's his journey that makes the story so interesting. If you can forgive him for being human (and you'll need to a few times) then you'll likely have a more sympathetic picture of him by the end.

The story focuses on relationships, platonic as well as romantic and sexual. I found the interactions between characters to be one of the great joys of the novel--the casual banter and minutiae of life making me feel I was there among close friends. Monopoli's prose never disappoints. The lines on the page come across as loose and easy, which is a masterful deception because the book is full of carefully crafted descriptions that will knock your socks off. In fact, I went through about ten pairs of socks per sitting.

Sexy, sweet, and sometimes strange, The Painting of Porcupine City is a story not to be missed! Ben Monopoli's second novel is a triumph, one that will leave me and countless others begging for more.
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Let's start with I'm more of a murder mystery buff so this is not my typical genre. Having said that, I truly enjoyed the beautiful prose in Cranberry Hush and knew I would read almost anything this author wrote.

This is such a well written, lengthy novel with excellent character development. It has wit, angst and a lot of the human condition. I stayed up well past my bedtime to finish the book because really how was I supposed to go to sleep not knowing what happened next?!

I found the end where Fletcher is talking to his editor pretty funny and a nice parallel for the story. What? No m/m story drenched in retardedly unrealistic and prepubescent sex scenes? No perfect Disney World happily ever after with black and white answers? Of course, as someone in the medical field, I just really wanted to throw anti-psychotics at Mateo but I suppose that's too concrete and not mystical enough :)
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After reading The Cranberry Hush I decided I would BUY ANYTHING BEN MONOPOLI WRITES. And I was highly anticipating this new book. I have to say that from the first page, I was laughing out loud and I quickly fell in love with the main characters. Ben has a way of writing that I just really connect with and I get sucked in. I am still thinking about particular scenes and how I imagine people looked and talked and their expressions. Always the sign of a wonderful story. And I will never look at graffiti in the same way again. I will say the end was a little...unexpected. I didn't quite get it... and I guess I do now...sorta. But, its definitely a great read! Can't wait for whatever Ben has in mind next!
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There is so much more to this story than meets the eye - mysteries and secrets, partially revealed facts and painted over truths, characters hiding from themselves and characters running to keep from being discovered. Any first person narrator must be held in suspicion, and Fletcher is no exception. He is given permission by Mateo to tell the story however he wants to - trusting that even if the facts are wrong, the important parts will be revealed. Like many of us, Fletcher is harder on himself than anyone else is, and it's up to other characters to show why anyone would want to be with him, much less fall in love with him, but they do and so do we. With all his flaws and betrayals, he is loyal, passionate and valiant. He promises never to tell Mateo's secret identity - and I believe he never does. There is more than one way to interpret this ending - and it is worth reading again to look for all the clues the author has given us. Wonderfully written.
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Amazing to find a gay novel these days that takes gay relationships seriously and is willing to take it all beyond the bedroom or wherever you like to do it. Yes it's hot and sexy, but it's also meaningful and moving. And very, very contemporary, way beyond the sex novels of the 70's, the glitter novels of the 80's and the drugdance stuff since then. This guy can write, think and feel. And he's just getting better. One small snit - the ending doesn't quiet work - and the author knows it but loves it. I can understand that and forgive him and the ending, I know what he was trying for and I give him kudos for that. But will some decent publisher just sign him up, get him out of that day job and chain him to his computer? There are too many books out there and too few writers like this.
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I loved "Cranberry Hush," by Ben Monopoli - and all my fellow readers were telling me I needed to read this. It sat on my Kindle for months, and finally, I just plunged in.

Ben Monopoli is a wonderful writer. Elegant and literate, but very contemporary and, dare I say, young. His voice is young - he writes in the words of the generation of my children. (If only my children were so literate!)

I struggled into this wonderful book because of my own resistance to two key elements at its core: Fletcher's fecklessness and Mateo's graffiti. I struggled to love these two young men because they each are so opposed to my own hard-wired nature. Fletcher, burned by bad romances in college, has turned to a position of anti-romance, embracing a life of one-nighters. He's both annoying and pitiable - to someone like me. His only good feature at first was his warm relationship with best friends Cara and Jamar. He's a good friend to them, and that gave me an inkling of hope from the start.

And Mateo - well. How to start? Emotionally, he's right in sync with my own overwrought romantic self. Passionate, Brazilian, courtly in fact. But graffiti - because that's what drives Mateo - is something for which I have a visceral antipathy. I had to work hard to release my ingrained reverence for private property and civic order so that I could love Mateo properly.

But, in the end, I let both these fraught characters in, because they let each other in, and in their relationship I saw Fletcher being gradually turned into someone else - someone I wanted him to be from the start. Mateo, on the other hand, remained a Poe-like figure, romantic but obsessed in a way that boded ill. I cared for him and feared for him.
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