Gary Lee's Reviews > Guide

Guide by Dennis Cooper
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's review
Jun 05, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: gayish-lit, artsy-fartsy, literatti
Read in June, 2008

Of the five Cooper novels I've read (Safe, plus 4/5 of the 'George Miles cycle'), this one is, by far, my favorite. Everything I found to be lacking in Try seems to be placed back in with Guide.
Every book in this progression has found an author becoming more confident in his voice and in his art; Try was certainly no exception, I just felt there to be some faint form of disconnect overall. However, Guide seems to be Cooper at the height of his game.
With this novel Cooper blurs the line between fiction and reality to a point of being indistinguishable -- the Dennis of the story's 'fictional' events bleeds into Cooper-as-narrative-moderator's voice in such a seamless way, one wonders exactly how much of the novel has been made up. To add to novel's mysterious shroud, Cooper includes half of an article that he actually wrote for Spin magazine (it can be found in his All Ears nonfiction collection): changing the names of the actual kids he wrote about to the names of characters in the novel, and changing the ending of the article to a somewhat unsettling possible alternate.

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