I Look Divine
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I Look Divine

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  72 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Like Dorian Gray, the exquisite Nicholas limned in this sleek and troubling novella may become a cult figure.

The self-absorbed, narcissistic young man feels he has been exceptional from the moment of his birth by Caesarian section; he was thus unmarked and more perfect than other babies. "There is no such thing as more perfect," corrects his mother. "Of course there is,"...more
Paperback, 109 pages
Published July 28th 1998 by Vintage (first published 1987)
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Sometimes, when I am in a rut for reading material, I try to find a slim novel that helps purge my brain. That’s not to say that I look for fluff; this exercise merely allows me to read a novel quickly, not spend too much time with the story or the characters. Admittedly, most of these types of novels have been of the science fiction variety. Few have been “literary.”

So, the other night I was in one of these funks. I knew I was about to embark upon a reading experience with John Updike so my mi...more
Rich Gamble
It takes a lot of skill to write a book with an unlikeable character that people still want to read. Austen did it with Emma and Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho also comes to mind. Nicholas who won’t be in photos and controls/manipulates all aspects of his image compulsively is not quite in the same league. This combined with a very tired ‘brother with the flashback’ structure make for a trying, if brief read.

This book contains way too much pointless jet setting and foreign culture reference...more
Bitchy, funny, and coldly precise--- the narrator looks back over the life of his dead (murdered) younger brother, who built his life around being feted for his beauty. Call it a kind of Dorian Gray adjunct, and a cautionary tale about the cruelty of beauty and entitlement. And it does have deliciously wicked lines. When the narrator berates his teenaged brother for accepting gifts from older men,his brother dismisses the criticism by saying, "My dear, there is a difference between trade and tri...more
A desultory life...except for mirror images

David Leavitt, a brilliant author himself, wrote the Introduction to this wondrously touching little book by Christopher Coe, and in many ways his introductory remarks are equal to the novel. Leavitt probes the life and influence and style of Coe and manages to relate moments from this brief at times rambling, almost disconnected story bringing clarity to the reader about to embark on the too brief journey of I LOOK DIVINE.

A word about Christopher Coe:...more
Meghan C.
More a character-study than a novel, I Look Divine is like taking a whirlwind vacation with that guy you met during a free wine tasting. At first the detail-rich luxuries of the protagonist Nicholas feel exotic and lush and the narrator piles them high like so many Egyptian cotton towels. But after a few days trapped in a hotel with this guy, listening to his stories over and over again, and the magic and the mystery wear thin.

Coe does an excellent job framing and then fleshing out Nicholas as a...more
Karl S.T.
I Look Divine is Christopher Coe’s first novel and is written in a terrifying and seductive prose. It is about a man who recalls his adventures together with his brother, Nicholas. Nicholas is a vain, clever, poetic, wealthy and extravagant who poses and flirts in the stylish bars throughout the world. His brother the narrator becomes his witness and victim enchanted and repelled by Nicholas’ antics. There is nothing shocking and terrifying that happen in the novel but the author’s narratives ma...more
John Treat
This is a brief novel. You will pick it up after lunch and be done with it long before dinner. It is the story of a man Nicholas, told by an older brother, whom you will not like but whom you should know of anyway.

Coe is perfect, the novella is perfect. There is hardly anything here "de trop," as Nicholas would say (one year, anyway). He and his brother, free of any need to work apparently, travel from one jaded world place to another-- the usual circuit, i.e., Paris, Rome, Mexico, but everyplac...more
Nathan Truong
I Look Divine (1987) by Christopher Coe is about a brother searching and lamenting over his brother Nicholas’ past. The novel (which explores family love and homosexuality) carries itself through its sweet and swift prose, dabbing in small details that flesh out dear Nicholas that leaves me loving him more than hating him. Because, you will hate him.
A short yet near masterful and timeless character study of a beautiful and clever creature--Nicholas--destined and doomed from birth to soar near heaven for as long as good looks and witty banter and divine confidence can carry him. Told from his brother's perspective, the story also captures the intense and unspoken relationship between such a force and those travelling within close orbit. Coe deftly uses an economy of language to vividly paint the pain and pleasure which comes from striding th...more
Michael Joseph
You can find my full review of this classic, I Look Divine at my web site.
Mike Polizzi
A quiet book- clear, concise and subtle. The narrator's voice is so removed that the spareness is less a matter of evocation than of fact. Yet how well he establishes the passage of time and how natural his artifice in establishing the parent's fate- the whole book turns on the narrator's dispassionate remembrances of his dissipating brother, the beauty, money and brains squandered.
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Christopher Coe was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Portland, Oregon. As an adult he lived in both New York City and Paris.

As well as a writer, Coe also worked as a photographer and cabaret singer. His first novel, I Look Divine, was published in 1987, his second, Such Times, in 1993.

Coe died of AIDS on 6 September 1994 at his home in Manhattan.
More about Christopher Coe...
Such Times Journey: V. 3: Travel Photographer of the Year Journey One: Travel Photographer Of The Year Journey One: Travel Photographer of the Year

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