girls: A Paean
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girls: A Paean

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  288 ratings  ·  43 reviews
girls is an erotic spree, a journey into the most forbidden corners of male desire, a story about men who have been rendered numb by their power, who have sacrificed everything for success, who have lost their souls and can find meaning only by living vicariously, obsessively through young women.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published December 1st 2004 by Back Bay Books (first published 2003)
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Anastasia
OH MIO DIO.

Credo di essere appena reduce dal libro più osceno che abbia mai letto in vita mia. Probabilmente per riprendermi dovrò leggerne uno completamente innocente e ingenuo, ergo un libro per bambini.
Girls è un porno sotto forma di libro. Esiste la definizione di libro erotico, ma questo ha qualcosa di più nobile e dignitoso, il porno è un qualcosa che ha lo scopo di eccitare i maschietti concretizzando sulla carta o sulla pellicola tutto ciò su cui si sono ritrovati a fantasticare più vol...more
RB Love
A tough, dirty, and significant, little book. As obnoxious and disgusting, as ruthless and as amoral as the voices of the narration are - it is also nearer to the bone of the truth of inner male dialogue than most are willing to admit to or want to admit to. I certainly wouldn't admit to thinking this dastardly about the fairer sex, especially the nubile targets of the narrator(s) of girls.
Overall this thing is disturbing. Woven throughout is good writing, undeniably interesting, sometimes even...more
Robb
Brutal.

Nobody walks away from this one unscathed. Men will recognize a negative caricature of some of those thoughts we think when no one else is around. Women will recognize those fears they always suspected were true, but never gave voice to them because they were too "over the top".

Women are treated as playthings and shrewish icons while men are painted as depraved life support systems equally devoted to their blind ambitions and their cocks...

It's a broad, dark brush...both true and horribly...more
Cari
Judging by some of the other reviews, I may be the only woman who actually enjoyed girls. Yes, at times it was uncomfortable and disturbing to read, which was likely exactly the reaction Kelman wanted when he wrote of such politically incorrect subjects, taboos, and extremes. Any book that earns such a visceral reaction gets major points with me.

Going beyond the examples of extreme male thought and behavior, girls presents a range of subtler scenes, less likely to outright offend the female aud...more
Will
Deeply unsettling. Shined a light into my shadows.

Possibly the dirtiest book I've ever read. You really can't overestimate the explicit depth of the discussions of sexuality. An unnerving turn-on.

Important because such naked examinations of male sexuality are almost non-existent. Mailer. Roth. Miller (especially). David Guy. And this Nic Kelman, who'll probably never write anything like it again.
Kirby
Someone told me this would make me hate men, but it doesn't, so if you are trying to hate men, go to a bar or something. However, if you're as into reading about graphic and unromantic sex with hookers and friends' teenage daughters as I am, this one's for you!
Troy
I came to this book as a result of a review I read that described it as a modern day "Lolita." It's not that. I'm not even sure I'd call it a novel. If it is a novel, it's emplotment is very complex. It is built around several longish vignettes-all between 5 and 16 pages-that are related by theme, if nothing else. The use of a second person narrator throughout often makes it difficult to determine whether he's talking about the same character. Most of the characters are very rich, and think them...more
Diana
La versione maschile di 100 colpi di spazzola prima di andare a dormire.

Sarebbe anche scritto in modo scorrevole ed accattivante (sebbene un po' sconclusionato), ma i contenuti sono talmente discutibili che la recensione non può che essere pessima!
Il tono del narratore è estremamente irritante, le situazioni descritte spesso assurde o quanto meno improbabili (ma forse non vivendo in quel mondo non lo conosco a sufficienza, fortunatamente!).
Tutto il libro è comunque permeato da un alone misogen...more
Dan
Kelman has a talent for aphorisms. The excerpts from Homer would have been more effective at conveying the timelessness of the theme if they had been culled to a few choice examples. Kelman's concept is that successful men have opportunistic sex with girls as a kind of restorative sacrament which temporarily salves the wound that inspired the mens' will to power. The drive at issue isn’t that complicated, narrowly focused, or interesting. I think David Milch did a better job of getting to the he...more
Richard
Not for the faint of heart or those that would worry about being struck by lightning for reading something this open and vulgar. Not for any woman to read. I haven't met a woman that has tried to and has actually liked it.
It does contain the bitterness and twisted psyche a man may run across in his life despite it being about older men with power and money...it reflects in a very negative way how men look upon sex and women. It reflects in a very ugly way how women respond to men with money.
It i...more
Briana
This book is written from the perspective of a very bored man who couldn't stay faithful if it killed him. He babbles on about all kinds of rationalizations for his behavior. I find the narrator of this book pathetic and disgusting. There is no denying that the writing is incredibly well done. Its the points of the book I take issue with. There are plenty of men who manage to make it through their first marriage, to speak to and continue to love their wives and do it all without having sex with...more
Kris
Even though I read this book three years ago, I still think about it occasionally. Disturbing is the only word that I can come up with that conveys the open mouthed revulsion which compelled me to read this in one night. It's like a car crash you can't look away from and I passed it around to both female and male friends for months after reading it, because it was somehow satisfying to see the glazed look of either (in men's case) guilty resonance, or in women's case revulsion and fascination.

I...more
Josh
Seems to be written by a middle aged man that fantasizes about being rich and successful and desired by young women. If there are people in the world like the men or man in the book or the girls that fall for him/them, then I feel sorry for them. With our world the way it is today, I'm sure there are people this bad. The book made me sad for the broken marriages, families, and people. As far as the writing, it was like a bunch of rambling thoughts or a rambling conversation that continually chan...more
Roman Glass
A very provocative book. But once you get the meaning and get over it that men like this actually do exist, the good, the critique of this book unfolds. A very quick read.
Ian Mapp
Reminded me very much of Michel Houellebecq, which is high priase.

The book is written with no chapters. Just a series of paragraphs - some contain stories of men - sleeping with Thai prostitutes and doing unsavory things to them and feeling soiled in the morning, sleeping with Students, sleeping with friends underage daughters. The theme is that all men crave youth and the powerful men can attain it.

Interspersed with these stories are facts to back up the story and quotes from Homer, which add l...more
Whitney Peck
This book began like journey through a dark, mystical dream that you can only see through a mist and appears only in black and white images. I found myself captivated by his grammatical structures and language choices while also the fact that a single personal name did not appear until well through the book. I did, however, find myself a bit tense with the drawn out negativity of some passages and overall cynical approach to long term "love."
His references to Homer, Nabokov and a few etymologica...more
Alecia Whitaker
Twisted. Explores the idea of pedaphilia... Or maybe just the concept of men of power attracted to women too young to have realized their own ambition.

He continues to quote paragraphs and even pages of Greek literature throughout the book. He plays with voice - from 2nd person to 1st person - in a way that is completely annoying and difficult to follow.

This is a book that wanted to explore a theme, but could not focus.

Yet creepy enough to make you finish and make you think about it afterwards.
Andrew Herdeg
Summed up well by the Publisher's Weekly line: "Kelman's blend of Penthouse-grade sexual transgression, Nietzschean bombast and Sinatra-esque rue is a vigorous rendering of a certain misogynist mindset of masculine privilege, but for all its artfulness, it never quite transcends the cliches it wants to dissect."

Definitely touches on some things that men think but would never say. Some good stuff but it can become buried in the "men of privilege" schtick.
Kim
Expected a lot more from this one. Found it very disjointed and it wasn't really a novel, rather a series of anecdotes and one-liners, many of which didn't even seem to be relevant to the topic of 'girls'. I didn't really understand the need for, or relevance of, the extracts from The Iliad and The Odyssey etc. which were scattered through the book. I found only a couple of the anecdotes to be entertaining at all. 2/10 is all I can award this one.
Silvia
L'uomo che racconta mi da i brividi. Scoprire che dietro la mente maschile ci sono certi pensieri, che alla mia età non penseresti mai, mette davvero tanto i brividi. Eppure l'ho letto in un fiato, perchè più andavo avanti e più volevo scoprire di più. E' un tour nei meandri più sporchi del sesso, e soprattutto raccontato cinicamente. Devo ammettere che l'ho adorato, anche se per qualche tempo vedevo ogni singolo uomo con occhio cattivo.
Cherie
a sick twisted way that men think...no woman reading it will like it. It makes men look like pervs and makes you wonder if they all think this way. It also makes women look money hungry which is true for some but not all. I guess in the book the women and men match pretty good. It's about the worst in both gender. Maybe someone should write about the best in both and call it.......what? Girls II?????
Shannon Marie Alfaro
Not a book girls that think their man is unique and loyal should read. Some of the scenes in this small book were so degrading and disturbing that I even stopped reading for awhile. However, it was very interesting to get into the head of a man. So many men and even woman are worried and wondering about how a woman's thought process works that most people overlook the mystery of a man's. Very insightful read.
Dunny
Mar 26, 2008 Dunny rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: single women in San Francisco
This book is absolutely disgusting, and deeply fascinating. I would give it five stars if my mother wasn't a member of Goodreads. Kelman creates a believable perspective for some truly despicable men. I lived near the Marina/Cow Hollow in San Francisco when I read this and it could be almost every guy you see out on the weekends after a tough week in "the trenches" of the financial district.
Chelsea
This book was interesting, it took a long hard look into the eyes of the typical man. How women and sex seem to hold a power over all the differant men in the book was disturbing. The writing style was differant, i was kind of hoping for an actual story not just snipets of differant peoples lives. But all in all it was okay, just a little depressing for any hopeless romantics out there.
Karmen
MIT author. Premise is great - the Lolita fetish. Unfortunately, the author tried too hard interspersing material from classical literature (Aeneid, Odyssey) and psychology. Read more like a dissertation than novel. Not to say there were not some good passages but not very deep. Otherwise, I was in accord with his view on women's treatment of themselves and men with money.
Jeff Ihaza
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
James
Utter trash. Middle-aged, rich, sociopathic babies gallivant around the world on private jets and sleep with underage women and complain how nobody gets them, especially their ex-wives. Just terrible.
Amy
The white, pasty-faced corporate guys on Wall Street - this is what they dream of when they've made it. Unless they're gay (ahem). Ladies, don't say I didn't warn you. This isn't pretty.
Cody Sexton
Very interesting. Like a glimpse into the shared imagination, desires and collective truths that have, heretofore, remained unacceptable to articulate. I was riveted.
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“It's because they don't understand good sex has nothing to do with equality.” 1 likes
“And if they don't like it if you use those words and they stop moving put their hand on your mouth say "Don't say thatdon't use that wordI don't like it " if they say they don't want to try being handcuffed to the towel rack in the bathroom they're never any good in bed. They may be nice. They may be witty charming etc. etc. They may be doing something for women's liberation (over what? over whom?). But they're never any good in bed.” 1 likes
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