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(George Miles Cycle #3)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  945 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Simultaneously deadpan and queasily raw, Try is the story of Ziggy, the adopted teenage son of two sexually abusive fathers. He turns from both of these men to his uncle, who sells porn videos on the black market, and to his best friend, a junkie.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 9th 1995 by Grove Press (first published January 1st 1994)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  945 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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Eddie Watkins
We (my wife & I) have a gay friend down the street who has told us many sex-related stories over the years; so many, in fact, that I’ve been able to notice trends and shifts in his activities. One of these shifts is an increasing focus away from bar hookups and toward on-line hookups, usually involving going to a website when “in need” and finding another “in need” who is nearby and able to meet up immediately. I am amazed how often and how easily this happens. (Has anyone ever studied the impac ...more
Mar 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
(Re-read in October 2016) God, how did I only give this three stars when I read it for the first time ten years ago? I used to be such an idiot. I'm pretty emotionally unavailable - even to myself, maybe especially to myself - which is why Dennis Cooper's books affect me so strongly. I think the first time I read them I thought I just liked how horrifying the sex stuff seemed? But Try is really a pessimistic look at the tendency people have toward healing - and the ways it gets derailed. That st ...more
Nate D
Nov 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
The most conventional of Cooper's novels I've read yet, perhaps because all of the ensemble cast of isolated self-destructive misfits, even the bit-part middle-aged necrophiliac, seem to be fighting towards some kind, any kind of normality and equilibrium. As such, it's somehow both less artificial and constructed than its predecessors Frisk and Closer, and simultaneously (contradictorily) feels less real (gets less directly at underlying reality), in that way that often defeats the supposed rea ...more
Jul 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone except mom
Shelves: alive
Do not read this book while you're trying to fall in love.
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Not giving a fuck about sex is so beautiful."
Todd Grimson
Aug 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This may be the best of Cooper's novels to offer to any of your friends scared off by the aura of dark sex. There so much off-hand intelligence on display, such an offbeat sense of humor, and some real heart-felt emotion without any shielding mask of irony. Oh, here and there you'll still find some material that may shock... but it's presented in such a way you may find yourself surprised by laughter despite yourself.
Weston Richey
May 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, read-for-class
One of the most uncomfortable books I've ever read, but that discomfort brings an extraordinary amount of rich insight into the lines between sex, queerness, closeness, drugs, and abuse. The desensitization to the deluge of horrifying acts is fascinating to examine after the fact. Although I normally don't find myself drawn to transgressive fiction, Dennis Cooper absolutely proved himself to be an exception for me.
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
ziggy's lips silently form the word please about seventeen times in quick succession.
I read Try in tandem with Jerk and both works involve gay rape, mutilation and child abuse. Jerk was based on a real-life story with fictional elements thrown in, but Try is a completely fictional work. There's bleakness and despair in every character in his novel Try except for token girl Nicole: ironic, which almost begs the question: Does Dennis Cooper hate men?
If the only character with human feelings is a girl then what does it say about his attitude towards men? Hmmm....anyway, The Sluts
Steven Shroyer
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
There are many books in my personal library that defy expectations for a person like me. For example, I am a straight man yet I have numerous Yaoi(gay erotic) manga. For me in the 21st century, in this country, homosexuality is the new forbidden love. Being a fan of forbidden love since I viewed Baz Lurhman's Moulin Rouge in Jr High I see this as a perfect extension of my personality. In short, gay relationships fascinate me.

I remember hearing about Dennis Cooper from one of my many Bizarro aut
itchy vosijk
This was the biggest pile of shitty garbage I've ever had to read.

[big fat trigger warning: (view spoiler) - you've been warned and only continue reading if it doesn't trigger you] It was offensive, rapey, badly written and absolutely going nowhere. I've honestly just wasted my time reading this crap. (On the question why I did it: I had to read it for an university class on transgressive fiction and while it is transgr
Third of the 5 novels in the "George Miles cycle" (reading them in order) and so far each has been better than the last. Cooper once again does an extreme close-up of activities that are pretty much taboo in mainstream fiction, as if he has swept up everything that has been sanitized out of bestsellers and fallen to the floor. A hilarious, incredibly well-written book that perhaps deals more seriously with abuse by not sparing the reader anything. Cooper consistently challenges his readers, whic ...more
N. Alexsander
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-written but a grisly story. I would not recommend to anyone. There's a lack of self-pity that the narrator has that makes you love him and pity him more. Seriously so unbelievably dark.
Brian O'Connell
This may be the best of Dennis Cooper’s novels I’ve read. (At the very least, it’s on par with The Sluts.) It’s simultaneously his most viscerally disturbing and his most tender (probably it’s disturbing because of the tenderness): a genuinely romantic paean to the resilience of its young victims, wrapped in distressingly frequent scenes of extreme sexual abuse and emotional anguish. One never threatens to overwhelm the other, though, thanks to the author’s free-flowing language and the structur ...more
meow Zane
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cw Necrophilia and pedophilia

Very very sweet in comparison to closer or frisk, more overtly, or sentimentally tragic

concerned with desire in its most impossible(-seeming) forms, impossible forms of belonging, family, love, representation

starring ZIGGY:

-this time as the primary sacrificial Adonis,
-crazed and heterozoned by CALHOUN, who is written the most lushly,
-yearned for by his adopted dad 1, 2, his fat uncle who produces pedophilic porn, a ?transgirl named CRICKET

I love love Cooper’s ~absur
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Difficult but ultimately, oddly, beautiful.

Dennis Cooper is an extraordinary writer, whose creepy writing gets close to the fragility of being young, trying to explain ourselves to the world.

Or something, as one of his characters would probably say.

Oh yeah and there's lashings of taboo sex. Prudes and those easily offended should steer well clear of anything this guy writes.
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Didn’t enjoy as much as the previous 2. Not much really happened in this one. Didn’t really get me. Not sure why, I mean I was kinda in it, but I got over the 2 dads and I’m
Kinda over the abuse. But who knows, that might change.
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As outrageous as this book is —in the sense of its thematic—, it was quite powerful.
Josiah Morgan
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
"he tries too hard"
Samb Hicks
Well written. Didn't enjoy it.
Raven Encinas
Mar 15, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
homophobic no matter who wrote it.
Robert Natale
Apr 08, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Try?? Here's what I tried. I tried to give this book no stars but couldn't. That's what I tried.
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 1/2
will make you horny & then (very) nauseous
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Poorly written. I didn't get what it was trying to say.
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I must admit, this is the first of Coopers' books that I've picked up. I don't like giving overly critical reviews, so I'll say first that this is, perhaps, just not my cup of tea. Perhaps, it went over my head -- or I'm missing something, or I'm too much of a romantic and not enough of a nihilist. I'm accustomed to the sort of gritty horror characterized by Poppy Z. Brite, which is why I sought out similar authors. Cooper came as a recommendation from a brief acquaintance who expressed an inter ...more
Jail Flanagain
This book had some really good parts but overall left me a little irritated and unsatisfied. The writing was a little sloppier than other of his works containing more than usual amount of "like," and "um,' and also tons of unnecessary parentheses. Also the drag queen character Cricket was really problematic for me, I didn't understand why the narrator felt the need to insult her and other drag queens. It seems like Cooper has a problem with drag queens, the quote in the book, "I guess I'm suppos ...more
Steve Woods
This not a book to enjoy.It is at once spellbinding and deeply, deeply disturbing. Spellbinding because it at once captures with great precision the internal reality of horribly abused teenagers, a heroin addict at the point of total surrender to the drug and two men so sick that they have all but lost even the smallest vestige of humanity in their objectification of others for their perverse satisfaction of their wants. For anyone who has never touched this world it would seem farfetched if not ...more
Nov 30, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Things don't have to be cordoned off in pockets, drawers, towns, neighborhoods, etc., to function. There's the possibility of genius in chaos, in having to fumble around, knowing whatever you need isn't all that well hidden a half-foot in any direction.

Ahem. I'm aware just how hideous this sounds. Yet there are things that transcend other things, and the very nature of transcendence leaves it impossible to justify or interpret, yes? The family unit is an inherently fascist and oddball constructi
Alexander Veee
Mar 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
"One of heroin's gifts to its users is how it makes abstract and sort of diffuses anything that's not an in-relative-focus, quick arm's length away. At the same time, unfortunately or fortunately, the more alluring the thing, the scarier it reads. And love's about as ungraspable a thing as is humanly possible, to Calhoun's way of thinking. Here's his definition. Love: a hybrid emotion made up of various other emotions collaged by some weak individual's mind to try to quell a particular horror th ...more
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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)
  • Closer
  • Frisk
  • Guide
  • Period

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“Love: a hybrid emotion made up of various other emotions collaged by some weak individual's mind to try to quell a particular horror that's not been wiped out by more standardized symbols like Christ, etc. Nietzsche, right? Whatever.” 63 likes
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