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Permanent Obscurity: Or a Cautionary Tale of Two Girls and Their Misadventures with Drugs, Pornography and Death

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  161 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews
"Richard Perez has the ears of the angels—lend him yours."
—Barry Gifford, author: WILD AT HEART, PERDITA DURANGO

"Perez's is an exciting talent and his work goes far beyond most of what is published today."
—Henry Flesh, author: MICHAEL and the Lambda Literary Award-winner, MASSAGE


PERMANENT OBSCURITY: Or a Cautionary Tale of Two Girls
Paperback, 1st, 464 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Ludlow Press
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Community Reviews

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Nov 10, 2010 Oriana rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2010
Oh man, I didn't mean to cause such a stink with this.

Here is the story: the author sent me his book & asked me to review it. I didn't like the book and gave it a bad review, but I also offered to take down said review if the author wished. I mean, shit, I didn't like the book, but I do like books in general, and I respect someone who is working to push his own book, and clearly I'm just not the right audience for this book, and surely there are lots of people who are the right audience, an
Oct 07, 2010 Anna rated it it was amazing
Facesitting. That's what this book is about. No lie. Well, it's about more than that. Maybe friendship. And betrayal. And BDSM. And Drugs. The story of Permanent Obscurity is the recounting of a "relationship." That being between Dolores and Serena, two drug abusing women (who often behave like teenagers) and get into trouble over drug money. Perez, the author, writes well: something like a cross between Quentin Tarantino and Hunter S. Thompson. Like Tarantino, his narrative is dialogue heavy, m ...more
Sep 16, 2010 Christina rated it it was amazing
Maybe the best "outsider" book I've read in the last year. The two girls remind of friends of mine in the arts -- who couldn't hold down regular jobs, so did some stripping to make ends meet. Sounds like a desperate thing to do? Have you ever been in the arts? So, instead of dirty dancing, these characters try another scam: the femdom or "female domination" stuff, taking out ads on Craigslist, etc. Why does this book ring so true to life? It's really good. I mean, the characters are realistic so ...more
Aug 19, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Wow, this book was really entertaining! I'm glad I purchased it -- after Amazon recommended it to me based on my shopping history. Essentially it’s a tabloid story of two mixed up East Village artists -- or wannabe artists -- who fall in way over their heads. What’s to blame? Drugs. It seems they’ve pissed off one to many people with unpaid tabs and now they find themselves in deeper and deeper hot water. They set out to make a female domination movie that will pay back their debt, but these two ...more
Andrea Quinn
Aug 27, 2010 Andrea Quinn rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 30, 2010 Francine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: erotica
This is not a book that a good little Catholic girl should be reading but here I am and, my poor mother's heart, I loved it! It's absolute fun and written in that sense, not as a heavy- find -the- meaning- of- life novel. Admittedly it is full of sex, weed, alcohol and more sex but in a world as tough as this one, curling up and allowing the "bad girl" inside to come out and putting Ms. Prude away provides some much needed relaxation.
Again, not for those that want some vanilla erotica. This is t
Oct 05, 2010 Beth rated it it was amazing
What a weird novel! In a lot of ways -- mainly because of the "fetish" sexual content -- this is one of the strangest novels I ever read, and yet I only feel that now, after some distance from having enjoyed it.
While I was reading it, the material wasn't that weird at all, and maybe this is because we enter the perverted little world of Dolores and Serena, and while we're inside we feel and see things as they do.
This is a great book. Not "great" in the classic literature sense (obviously this is
Sabrina Rutter
Jun 20, 2010 Sabrina Rutter rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This book was a wild inner city adventure! I normally don't read these type of books, but then I thought why not I might actually enjoy it. Enjoy it I did! It reminded me of the movie Freeway due to the weirdness of it. When I say weird I mean a fun kind of weird that you don't easily find in books.
Dolores Santana and her best friend Serena Moon are as close as close can be. So when Serena ends up owing money to a lot of different people for her favorite street product Dolores is right by her si
Aug 17, 2010 Candace rated it it was amazing
Two friends living in the East Side Village of NY, struggling to survive in America, the country often called 'the land of opportunity.' This book opened my eyes on so many levels. A gut-wrenching story at times and a bit wild, it drew me in from the very first page and I just could not seem to put it down. Even though some of the main characters' experiences were a bit different from mine, in an odd way, there were some ties I could relate to, or understand where they were coming from. And the ...more
Bookventures Book Club
Jul 20, 2010 Bookventures Book Club rated it really liked it
Permanent Obscurity is not for squeamish readers as the content is adult and thought provoking. In Permanent Obscurity, Richard Perez has opened up a whole different world unknown to us; one wrapped up in sex, pornography and drugs. The book is not just about porn but it is grounded in several themes such as loyalty and friendship and it even takes a jab at sensationalism in the media and the ills of a capitalist society. The tile is really appropriate when you think about it since Perez is exam ...more
Kathy Austin
Jul 30, 2010 Kathy Austin rated it really liked it
PERMANENT OBSCURITY: Or a Cautionary Tale of Two Girls and Their Misadventures with Drugs, Pornography and Death by Dolores Santana (as told to Richard Perez)

While this type of genre is way beyond what I would normally read, I was asked to do a review by the author and so agreed. WARNING: Adult content, sex and drug-use!

I was pleasantly surprised! The story is captivating and interesting. It is presented in a way that delves into the minds of people who follow this lifestyle, yet is "tame" enoug
Oct 20, 2010 Kim rated it really liked it
Permanent Obscurity is written in the "as told by" style, which was perfect for the dark, psychosexual themes of the book. The author's disclaimer of vulgarity is accurate, but fully in keeping with the the story as it unfolds. Set in the East Village of NYC, Dolores Santana and Serena Moon are two chemically-dependent, struggling artists whose lives are spiralling out of control. Dolores is a photographer with a lot of skill but little ambition and motivation beyond scoring her next high. Seren ...more
Dan Schwent
Aug 16, 2010 Dan Schwent rated it liked it
When Dolores and Serena end up down and out and owing money to damn near everyone, they conspire to make a fetish video for cash. Only things start falling apart immediately...

I gave this book a shot since Richard Perez seemed like a cool guy, especially for a Goodreads Author. Plus he said it was a sexploitation book, sexploitation being right behind blaxploitation as my favorite type of exploitation genre. I wasn't disappointed.

This book was definitely a page turner. Perez did a good job keepi
Oct 03, 2010 Angie rated it it was amazing
"Artists in Hell." Or "Would-be Filmmakers in Hell" That could be the title of this book, because it's really about trying "to make it" in the arts and failing spectacularly. This darkly funny novel follows the antics of Dolores (our narrator) and Serena, as they try to "get it together," overcome their addictions and make a perverted film to get creditors off their backs. And let me tell you THIS BOOK IS A WILD TRIP! I mean, I would not recommend this to my mother or anyone over the age of 30, ...more
Jun 16, 2010 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Out of all the books in this style I've picked up over the years. this one has delivered exactly what I expected of it. It is a deliciously seedy romp of a tale, well written and with characters that, while you may not relate to them, you certainly enjoy reading about.

A very festive read!
Liza Ans
Aug 02, 2010 Liza Ans rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 23, 2010 Rachel rated it really liked it
If I tell you that it has very graphic pornography and drug use, you'll just shrug and say, "Seen it before." and pick it up and start reading. About 75 pages in, you'll come up for air, and need either a cigarette, or a strong shot of something, depending on your vice! All I know is I thought I knew what I was getting into, but then again, so did Dolores and Serena, and boy did it get pear-shaped for them!

This is a tale that starts out as a mis-adventure of two young girls in New York City just
Jun 22, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it
I have to admit, I wasn't sure I could read a book like this. But I was wrong. I actually really enjoyed it.

The plot starts off as intriguing: Dolores wants to be an artist (a photographer) but that won't pay the bills so she works a dead-end job as a temp. You almost feel sorry for her.
Then, as she blames everyone but herself for her problems, you just start to hate her. The plot takes off when she and Serena (another failed artist) decide to make their movie. After a certain point, I couldn't
Patti Hanes
Oct 04, 2010 Patti Hanes rated it it was amazing
Funny, nasty, and fun. A page turner. I enjoyed the style, and the short chapters. Dolores, the main character, is hilarious but foul-mouthed. I mean, if the "c" word offends you, the "b," the "f" word -- you'll hate it, but actually it's very realistic; I know girls who talk just like this. This is very much a black comedy. Dolores and Serena are losing control of their lives so they promise to make a fetish-type movie ("female domination" movie) to get money, but what this does to their friend ...more
Jul 28, 2010 Aven rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This book is a tragicomedy indeed. Very raw in its power. I cracked up laughing and cried in many moments when I read this book. You really feel as if the characters are alive. I start to wonder if this book is a true story or not, its so believable! Dolores tells the story of her life when she meets Serena and their adventures together to survive in this harsh world. The supporting characters are ones that I personally would love to meet (Raymond and Baby). Even though the language is a bit vul ...more
Jul 31, 2010 m rated it really liked it

"My blood. Hot and red." When Permanent Obscurity's protagonist, Dolores, makes this statement, we're not sure just which source of blood she's referring to. Ready-made for Roger Avary or Robert Rodriguez, Richard Perez takes us on a blackly comedic romp that will have us laughing, gagging and crying in mostly equal measure as we frenetically turn the pages. Thanks for not pulling those punches, Mr. Perez; New York noir hasn't tasted this fresh in years.

~full review~

"You better recognize
Bonnie Rock Jewell
Jun 15, 2010 Bonnie Rock Jewell rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: open minded people
Recommended to Bonnie by: first reads
I was not 'put off' by the graphic sexual content in this book. Infact, given the nature of the characters, it all made sense and it gave you more of an understanding of the main characters, Serena and Dolores. What made this book so enjoyable and the plot so realistic is the complexity of all the characters. They brought the book to life and gave it substance. This is the kind of book where you can really get into indepth discussions analyzing the characters.

My thoughts on Dolores was, yes, she
Jason Pettus
Aug 11, 2010 Jason Pettus rated it really liked it
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

You hear it all the time from people who have actually worked in the film industry, that given all the complicated steps and perpetual nightmares that come with making a movie, it's a wonder that any get produced at all; or at least that's what I kept thinking about when reading Richard Perez's delightfull
Nov 15, 2010 Beth rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Liza Reid
Dec 04, 2010 Liza Reid rated it really liked it
If Chuck Palahniuk and Elizabeth Wurtzel had a book baby, "Permanent Obscurity" would be it. Perez takes us through the misadventures of two young girls snorting, smoking, stealing and sexing around New York City. Cliche as it may seem, Delores and Serena are a couple of very viable characters - jaded yet vulnerable, they do what they believe they must to survive a life of "the arts". It's hard to believe two girls with such minor-league intentions could get into the shinanigans they do, but it' ...more
Oct 20, 2010 Victoria rated it it was amazing
Easy to read book and fast moving. I enjoyed this story about two girls who decide to make a dirty movie. At first I thought I'd be uncomfortable with the "femdom" stuff, but actually it's not that bad. Rather funny. The whole book is funny, actually -- from Dolores' voice to her relationship with her older boyfriend, Raymond. And what happens when Dolores and Serena finally make the movie has to be read to be believed. Be forewarned: LOTS of cursing, dark humor and drug-taking. I would recommen ...more
Oct 19, 2010 Kara rated it it was amazing
An expletive-heavy black comedy of two down-and-out women, Dolores and Serena, who can't help but get into trouble. The narrator, Dolores (also known as "Crazy D"), rules. The most fun I had reading a book in a long, long while. Others have used the word "entertaining" and I agree. Keep in mind, you need to be okay with dirty language, heavy drug use, and elements of BDSM. But it's meant as satire, not to be taken seriously. I highly recommend this book.
May 10, 2010 Shannon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lt
This book is not one I would normally read. Having said that it was so good and so addicting (appropriatly so). It was a fast read and one that was hard to put down. I'd say it was a page turner but I read it as an e-book so it was a fast scroll. I've already got a friend reading it! Don't let the cover or the title put you off go ahead with the story it is mind blowing!
May 17, 2010 FabulousRaye rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People into cult films and S&M
Recommended to FabulousRaye by: Richard Perez
Shelves: own-it, 2010
The author very politely suggested I read his book. He said that from my reading list, he thought I'd enjoy it. He was correct. This is a fun, enjoyable read. It's kind of like a book version of a trashy tabloid or an modern version of a 70s sexploitation flick. It's ridiculous in a John Waters way and over the top like a Russ Meyer's film.

This was my "Waiting Room" book. I have a lot of appointments, so this book came with me.The provocative cover certainly works in Perez's favor. Every where I
Nicole Roberts
Here's your review: Honestly within the first 10 pages of the book I thought that it would take me forever to get through. I really did not like it at all. The conversations between the characters annoyed me to no end (I hate the yo yo homie, kind of slang). Now see I cuss extensively and frequently, but the dialogue between the two main people was just crass and uncalled for. OK so are you ready for my final verdict of this book now that I'm done with it? I really enjoyed it. The beginning seem ...more
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PERMANENT OBSCURITY: Kindle vs Hardcopy editions ... 1 7 Jun 27, 2010 01:36PM  
PERMANENT OBSCURITY : Too Perverted? 1 6 Jun 26, 2010 07:59PM  
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Initially published small literary magazines, Richard Perez has also written for The New York Times (a newspaper he doesn't read). His first novel, The Losers' Club (aka: The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition) has three foreign translations to date: Korean, Turkish, Italian. PERMANENT OBSCURITY: or a Cautionary Tale of Two Girls and Their Misadventures with Drugs, Pornography, and Death -- h ...more
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