Christopher Roth's Reviews > They Whisper

They Whisper by Robert Olen Butler
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Jul 31, 11


His best book that I've read. A weird, honest, and deceptively simple—actually philosophically very complex—exploration of the male psyche. Here you get the whole Freudian/Sartrean problem of using sex and fear of death to fill the hole that modernism leaves where religion once was, twinned with a parallel exploration of the, or an, analogous female approach to the same problem. But it is not as pat as I make it sound here. Like Updike, it will seem misogynistic at first glance and is not to everyone's taste. I predict that whenever men and women read this book in tandem—as couples or in book groups, say—there will be awkward conversations in which females say, "But, seriously, that's exaggerated, right? Men don't really think about sex as much as that main character does, do they? They don't really use up that much brain space thinking about screwing everyone they see and obsessively cataloguing their past conquests ... right?"—at which point the men will stare at their feet and clear their throats before saying, "Yeah, of course ... exaggerated," and then change the subject.



The foot fetish thing that Butler has going on, though: that's just him. I swear.
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