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Closer (George Miles Cycle #1)

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  845 ratings  ·  61 reviews

Physically beautiful and strangely passive, George Miles becomes the object of his friends’ passions and, one after another, they ransack him for love or anything else they can trust in the vacuum of middle America. What they find assaults the senses as it engages the mind, in a novel that explores the limits of experience.
Hardcover, 1st Edition, 131 pages
Published April 28th 1989 by Grove Press (first published March 3rd 1989)
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i burned through 5 dennis coopers in as many days culminating with closer: the first of the 'george miles' 5-novel cycle. had i not just been bowled over by a damn great episode of Mad Men ("I'm not going to fight watching Dick Whitman paint my living room in his shorts") and drunk the required 1/3 bottle of bulleit bourbon, i might've waxed poetic on the book itself... but i'm in no state to do that. so, lemme bring to your attention two exemplary goodreaders i came across as i checked out how...more
Eddie Watkins
Gay Fetish Lit. Did I ever think I would read such a thing? Never. Did I even know it existed? Sure, but only vaguely. Did I enjoy it? Definitely. Does this mean that my straight married life is going crooked? Only in the imagination (a far more capacious world than we are generally allowed in workaday life), and as a straight man (with an inner asexual gay man) I'm probably more interested in reading about gay sex anyway.

What is happening to me in my early middle-age? Due to no crisis that I kn...more
Ben Winch
Dennis Cooper likes to play dumb. He doesn’t like explaining. He’ll drop you in the middle of a teenager’s popstar fantasy and you’ll think “C’mon, get real” before you realise it’s not real, nor meant to be. He’ll drag you with his desultory creatures through sex act after sex act, and you’ll find not one shred of titillation. Gay porn? This is the opposite. Anti-porn. Sex aversion therapy. In Closer’s sequel Frisk, if he got turned on during a sex-scene he’d rewrite it. This, to me, speaks of...more
I remember being in a Seattle bookstore when I bought this. Probably around '93. I asked for some William Burroughs and the clerk said I should give this a try. Thank you, clerk! This is one of the most disturbing and visceral books I have ever read. And it lead me to read all the other Cooper books I could get a hold of.
My theory about Dennis Cooper is also the one I have about Chuck Palahniuk: the first book you read by him becomes your favorite. (I have also heard this theory in relation to Sondheim musicals, and I think it holds true there, as well.) For me, The Sluts is the high water mark against which all of Cooper's other books about drugged-out teens preyed on by sadistically pathetic older men is judged. And I'm sad to say that, as such, this tale -- his first and thus to some extent his most shocking...more
"Closer" by Dennis Cooper. I forget exactly when I purchased this book (most likely either in 2001 or 2002), but I recall finding it in the "gay fiction" section at the local Borders. I think the main reason why I sought it out was because Poppy Z. Brite recommended it in an interview. It was the first Cooper novel I ever read, and at the time I had no idea that not only would I befriend the author a few years later, but that he would also give me my first professional publishing credit. I was (...more
joshua caleb
at first I'll admit that I didn't quite know what to do with this book. There are approximately 2 sentences before the first characters introduced begin having sex rather unceremoniously and it often talks about pulling the flesh away from the faces and bodies of young men. And other things it's not polite to just jump in and talk about without warning.

When I finished the book I was really impressed with the very open and inconclusive ending which still somehow made me feel as if I'd arrived the...more
weird how this is the first in the george miles cycle and it's the last one in the cycle for me to read. I wish i started with this book then work through them even though they don't fit in story wise. I wish this because i would have been able to see this stunning author grow. Like i did with Bret Easton Ellis. The novel is in the sparse and vague fashion that I have came to love so much, this is the main attraction to any of his works except The Marbled Swarm which was the first novel and hard...more
Gori Suture
Apr 10, 2010 Gori Suture rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dark souls with troubled minds
Recommended to Gori by: Read an excerpt in a book
Closer’s plot is irrelevant. This book is a masterpiece in character study. Cooper vivisects disenchanted gay teens, exposing their fragility and humanity like a mad doctor ripping the nervous system from his subject with abject fascination. Blatantly honest yet poetically beautiful. Cooper is far ahead of his time.
This is a fast book. You can certainly sit down and read it during the commercials of whichever medical show you happen to watch.

This book should be exceedingly disturbing, but it isn't. You don't notice how disturbing it should be because none of the characters seem to notice. Once a character vomits and you suddenly realize how disgusting the book is. None of the characters show emotions. For sake of ridiculous comparisons I have to say that it reads almost as a postmodern poem that rejects ca...more
Dusty Myers
Closer is Dennis Cooper's first novel in a pentology of novels about George Miles, who in this novel is the beloved figure for half a dozen high school boys, all gay and all pretty much cool with it. George gets involved with a middle-aged French man named Philippe, and through that connection travels down a dark road of dangerous, filthy sex that almost gets him killed in the basement of some suburban home.

In line with the literary fads that I think produced these stories (in many ways the nove...more
Nate D
Jul 23, 2011 Nate D rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: video camera eyes
Recommended to Nate D by: the utter normalness of my own highschool days, cast into relief
This is harsh stuff, the most miserable of highschool desire and isolation and obsession, rendered simply readable through oddly desensitized viewpoints, anesthetized by repeated disappointment, emotional denial, and drugs. This makes the prose, at the start, sort of oddly emptied and minimal, often believably high-school-histrionic even as it's totally detached from the actual horribleness going on. It's part of an awareness of its own content, I guess, a current of post-modern reflection on na...more
Clay Brown
This is my second reading of Closer by Dennis Cooper, my first was over twenty years ago. Has it aged? Has it changed? Good questions. For a gay person of America Closer was something to put along side Blue Velvet by David Lynch or Burroughs Naked Lunch or Hunter Thompsons Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas.

In those days there was a sensibility that was not mainstream… a dark mistress to America’s bubbly blight of bright lights.

Underneath are and were these interesting gay boys who had just become m...more
Mar 20, 2007 Imogen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: queer types
Dennis Cooper is my boyfriend so bad. It's hard to describe why teen angst, gay u/dystopias, and shit obsession are SO APPEALING when he writes about 'em. But they are.
I need to re-read it. I need to re-read it. I need to re-read it.
John (...) non riusciva a decidere se voleva fargli un ritratto, scoparselo, pestarlo a sangue o innamorarsi di lui.

Forse sono di parte, a leggere e recensire Dennis Cooper. O forse, sono solo più obiettivo di tutti gli altri. Perché in me Cooper smuove qualcosa di nero ed indecifrabile. Solletica il mio piacere del brutto. Del rivoltante, dell'orrido, del violento. Una persona sana di mente fuggirebbe a gambe levate dai romanzi di Cooper. Ma forse, proprio per questo, sono meno adatti a leggerl...more
Jordaan Mason
reading dennis cooper always makes my body feel like a crazy bag of garbage and i'm like what the hell is this thing i am living in, what am i but a sack of blood and skin and shit, but somehow, though, i don't find this to be an inherently nihilistic thing - it is in fact exactly the thing that brings me to these texts.

two things i learned while reading this book: 1) if you read it in a public place strangers who have also read cooper will feel it's totally cool to talk to you, which is a good...more
Closer (1989) is het eerste deel van de “George Miles”-cyclus, waar het gore geweldfestijn van Frisk ook deel van uitmaakt. Het is opgebouwd als een reeks van portretten van homoseksuele tieners/adolescenten, die allen hun zinnen gezet hebben op de figuur van George Miles, een catatonische jonge god die op hen allen een pijnlijke aantrekkingskracht uitoefent, en hem gebruiken en (vooral) misbruiken om hun begeerte en onalledaagse driften te verzadigen. De uitzichtloze monotonie van het boek (all...more
(9/10) Closer is a novel that's not so much about emotion and big ideas as raw bodily sensation, the heady mixture of sex and violence and attraction and repulsion experienced by all its characters in their misguided attempts at stumbling towards intimacy. Dennis Cooper presents a sad cycle of teenage sexual exploitation existing beneath the surface of an uncaring suburban life. It's not as simple as the usual story of abuse -- it sometimes becomes hard to tell who is taking advantage of who, an...more
Thomas Hale
The second Dennis Cooper I've read (the first being God, Jr.) and the first of the George Miles cycle. It's an intense and unflinching exploration of desire, sex and death, and some moments made me just stop and stare at the page, slack-jawed in shock. I've already ordered my copy of 'Frisk', and am now in the position of wanting to read pretty much everything this guy's done.
One of the most original books I've read - there are similarities to Bret Easton Ellis (rotating view points of young people behaving badly) and A.M. Homes (plenty of shock and surprise to go around), but this seemed to be smarter (if more revolting) than work I've read by those writers. Before you read this one, be prepared for scenes so disgusting that even the characters puke in response. What makes it all ok (i think) is that even the most repellent stuff seems to be done in the service of t...more
Jessica Pitingolo
I reread Guide a few months ago and have been wanting to acquire the rest of the George Miles Cycle to reread as it must've been high school the last time I did. Albeit mirroring my pretention of that period it's still captivating, although guiltily so.
Patrick Kelly
Dennis Cooper's George Miles Cycle is a series of novel based loosely on his personal interactions with a childhood crush. The first of this five-part series is called Closer. George Miles is passive and lets his friends use him for whatever and in whatever ways they like - sexually, financially, and otherwise. In real life, Cooper's infatuation with the eponymous character of George was stimulated further when he sought out the real George Miles and found he had died of AIDs. After this revelat...more
is there something i'm missing here?

more fantasies about disaffected pretty gay boys doing drugs and having sex to cartoonish degrees. when i say that i mean EVERY character is gay, EVERY character does drugs, and EVERY character thinks about nothing but sex. CONSTANTLY. i don't get it. to me these characters are unrealistic and unrelatable.

this book is better than Guide and i should say that Cooper is not without flair. he has a knack for cadence and pace and his imagery is rather vivid. he a...more
Dark, angsty, self-centered, violent and going places few stories that aren't simple hard core porn would risk going, this is the story of George, a young man looking for love and accepting anything in place of it; and the men who move through his life taking advantage of that need. Each chapter is told from the POV of a different character, except for George, who gets more than one chance to make the reader care about him. Once the plot actually starts to move foreward (unfortunately, almost ha...more
Dear hopeful young novelists. Here is your formula for instant success:

1. make all your characters gay
2. have them use the word 'bored' on every page
3. add some fecal matter eating
4. add mutilation

Congratulations! Your novel will have queer theorists gushing over you for a year.

ps my real review:

"Cooper grew up the son of a wealthy businessman in Arcadia, California.... as he began his teenage years, he wrote poetry and stories on scandalous and often extreme 1976 Cooper went to...more
Dennis Cooper has been on my mind lately, so I've decided to revisit the George Miles cycle and read it in order for the first time. When I first read it at the beginning to middle of our current decade, I simply read them as I found them, eventually ordering the ones I never found at used bookshops online. I think re-reading these now that I'm, er, smarter I guess, is a very good thing-- they're much more rewarding and devastating now, plus I'm more attuned to Cooper's subtle narrative experime...more
Boring, gross, etc. I mainly read it because of Cooper's Paris Review interview and I wanted have a transgressive-lit marathon of Cooper/Bataille/Acker, but this is sort of disappointing. I was hoping for something similar to that perfectly structured hallucination that is The Marbled Swarm, but this reads more like a gay teenager's acid-induced nightmares that he decided to novelize for his intro to creative writing class. I should be kinder, since this was his very first book, but I think I'll...more
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Dennis Cooper was born on January 10, 1953 and grew up in the Southern California cities of Covina and Arcadia. In 1976, he founded Little Caesar Magazine and Press, which he ran until 1982. In 1985, he moved to Amsterdam for two and a half years, where he began his ten year long project, The George Miles Cycle, an interconnected sequence of five novels that includes Closer, Frisk, Try, Guide, and...more
More about Dennis Cooper...
Frisk The Sluts Try Guide God Jr.

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“Dan thought of love as defined by books, cobwebbed and hidden from view by the past. Too bad a love like that didn't actually exist. In the twentieth century one had to fake it.” 8 likes
“I'm a talentless but popular young singer and I have the feeling someone is watching me. I use the term loosely because I have few feelings, and even they're too simple, like primary colors.” 2 likes
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