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(George Miles Cycle #1)

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  2,008 ratings  ·  113 reviews
La beauté de George Miles et son étrange passivité en font l’objet des désirs de son entourage. L’un après l’autre, ces garçons (John, David, Cliff, Alex, Philippe, Steve), produits typiques d’une Amérique moyenne déboussolée, vont le soumettre à leurs fantasmes. Dans une suite d’expériences de plus en plus extrêmes, à la limite du supportable, ils vont essayer, chacun à ...more
208 pages
Published March 1995 by Editions P.O.L. (first published March 3rd 1989)
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Average rating 3.56  · 
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 ·  2,008 ratings  ·  113 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
”That’s why I’m happy I’m famous for what I’m so famous for. Being gorgeous, I mean. It helps me believe in myself and not worry that I’m just a bunch of blue tubes inside a skin wrapper, which is what everyone actually is. I am gorgeous. That’s not a brag. I can tell. People tell me so. I’m also friendly and sweet and naive except I do tend to talk way too much and I lie all the time. But you have to tell lies when somebody is judging you every minute. You have to cover yourself up with some ...more
Timothy Urges
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m going to use this to make myself change, like a starting point. I think that’s the best thing to do. I won’t buy any more drugs. I’ll try not to do what I always do. I never do anything other than school and Philippe.

Passive, acid-addicted George Miles might as well be dead. He spends his time with others playing that exact role. What he needs is someone who cares.

Closer explores the minds and motives of several men that come in contact with George Miles and his beauty.

Typical postmodern
Aug 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
i burned through 5 dennis coopers in as many days and i'm in no proper state to comment. so, lemme bring to your attention two exemplary goodreaders i came across as i checked out how y'all responded to cooper's extreme punchfucking asseating & ballsniffing.

1. eddie watkins nails what's best about these books. y'see, i'd be content with some obvious booshit like calling out cooper as a postmodern genet but watkins writes this:

"The particular obsession in Frisk does originate in a mere
Eddie Watkins
May 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-fiction
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
Ben Winch
Apr 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american, anglo
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
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer-writing
I need to re-read it. I need to re-read it. I need to re-read it.

I read Dennis Cooper's Closer years ago after finding it in the library, I honestly don't remember what had happened in the story but I do remember myself thinking it's a damn great queer novel---one of the best I've read ever. The story has a lot of things to do with sexual desire, guy pinning after another guy but can't (or unwilling to) act upon it, unhealthy dreams, unhealthy way of thinking, etc. I seriously need to re-read
Mar 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: queer types
Re-read 2016. This is a book about traumatized teenagers trying to process their trauma in a world where being gay isn't really a big deal - or at least where the trauma of being gay is such a normal part of life that it no longer scans as traumatic. It's brutal and vicious and when I look back at the stuff that stuck out at me my first time through it - the salacious stuff - I get mad at my younger self. I wish I'd dog-eared the page where the word "closer" appears because that paragraph felt ...more
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Nate D
Jul 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jul 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Gori Suture
Apr 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
4.5. Might change it to a 5 after I give it more thought.

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
sonny (no longer in use)
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 ...more
Sam Glatt
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everyone is empty, everyone is dead inside, seeking that death on the outside or whatever gets them as close to it as they can be without going over the edge.

These lines and sentences are empty and hollow, but always with purpose. It's difficult to engage with these characters and accept their actions, but that's precisely what draws you in and keeps you there. You want them to escape these self-inflicted horrors, so you read on in hopes that they do. But when it comes to Dennis Cooper, the
Griffin Alexander
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To be read in tandem with The Invention of Morel. What Octavio Paz wrote of the latter would serve as a good aesthetic summary of Cooper's book here under review: "[The] theme is not cosmic, but metaphysical: the body is imaginary, and we bow to the tyranny of a phantom. Love is a privileged perception, the most complete and total perception not only of the unreality of the world but of our own unreality: we not only traverse a realm of shadows, we ourselves are shadows."
Jun 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
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
Jordaan Mason
Apr 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-it, queer, fiction
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
Thomas Rose-Masters
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This slight volume (and the first part of a quintet of books) was in turns exhilarating, disgusting, profound, puerile, gross, sublime, meaningful and trite. As a whole its value seems indisputable as a prime example of transgressive literature. I also loved the way Cooper wrote it as a queer novel that was not about queerness, or not just about queerness, and gave it an unsuspected depth of emotion and human understanding. Amazing, if not for the faint of heart.
Strangely funny and compelling for a book about a guy with an ass like a horror movie.
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
Mar 08, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can handle the vivid descriptions of coprophilia and snuff movies but what shocked me was Cooper using "could care less" instead of "couldn't care less." Disturbing.
Feb 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Maybe I am a so bitter and jaded that I fail to see the electricity of Cooper's sparse and withholding prose. Much like the Kathy Acker, I see Cooper as coming too late to the party and bringing only the coked up incoherence of the 1980s pale washed out neon of a Patrick Nagel painting. I mean I get it, these are the terrible infants of American Punk Rock. Cooper's vision supposedly bristles with edgy, unblinking perversion. The gutter realism of the fringes of fringe communities fueled by and ...more
JQ Salazar
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5 - This was some dark shit. Took me almost until halfway to really get in its groove, but once I saw what it was doing I became pretty enamored of how well the writing captures a peculiar type of repulsiveness, everything feeling brutally real and lived-in. Some characters hit harder than others, but the two George chapters really glue the whole thing together. There’s a chapter about a serial killer that left out just enough details to really sink its hooks into me. Would like to read ...more
Oct 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, default, queer
Everyone in Closer is attractive, gay, and twink-like (not to mention middle class and white) - yet consumed by ennui. A parade of James Deans at a Rebel Without a Cause convention. Each chapter takes the perspective of a new narrator, examining their lives through character portraits, but whilst these are well written, they stray too close to being vehicles for existential angst (and Cooper's wry social commentary), rather than being full and living people. Cooper's teens talk and live and fuck ...more
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kyle Todd
Jun 25, 2018 rated it liked it
This book made me sick at times. I knew it had to do with homosexuality but heard that it was good no matter your orientation. I have to disagree. As a straight man I felt it painted a horrific and disturbing picture of the gay community and was obviously intentional. I would be very curious to know how a gay person felt after reading this, I would imagine not great. There's one part that's quite funny and the writing is consistently good but otherwise I would refer to this book as "torture ...more
Jan 12, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american
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
Nov 28, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
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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

Other books in the series

George Miles Cycle (5 books)
  • Frisk
  • Try
  • Guide
  • Period
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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.” 58 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.” 57 likes
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