MJ Nicholls's Reviews > Gerald’s Party

Gerald’s Party by Robert Coover
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's review
Mar 20, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: novels, merkins, tortured-artists, penguin-classics

This is the sort of book people write drooling dribbling cock-tugging theses about—the multifariousness of its structure and tropes and voices is denser than a chocolate-and-toffee car park cake (a cake the size of an actual car park). I toggled between three and four stars because I was with then not-with then with then not-with the novel about nine times per page, lapsing from amusement into rage, from rage into arousal, from arousal into boredom, from boredom into amazement, from amazement into suicidal thoughts . . . and on and on. The US edition has a cover showing a Roman bacchanalia—this is more apposite a whetter than “dinner party from hell” (unless taken literally), or nihilistic postmodern romp, though both those elements are dominant. Basically, Ros is a slutty actress who is found dead at a dinner party which is happening in a house somewhere, and some characters respond normally (wailing and such), while others behave like psychotics, perverts, unhinged nutballs, and bad comedians, and abuse her corpse with emphasis on the crotch. Gerald spends his time wiping arses, placating his ill-placed son, and trying to screw Alison while a range of drunken voices twit around him and pull the narrative over here, over here, over here, and over here, then back here, then over here, then oh look someone’s been shot in the head oh well better have sex with this teenage whore and get stuck in her vagina, then over here, then over here into a marsh of tagless dialogue running for twenty pages or so, then into another farcical sex scene of questionable morality. I think I started out trying to praise this novel. Well, don’t read it unless you’re familiar with plotless formless hardcore PoMo antinovels that demand dissection. Otherwise, the comedic set-pieces and exhausting pace, the blurred distinction between theatre and reality, truth and exaggeration . . . all interesting nooks of interest for the avant-garde bookman.
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Reading Progress

March 20, 2012 – Started Reading
March 20, 2012 – Shelved
March 23, 2012 – Shelved as: novels
March 23, 2012 – Shelved as: merkins
March 23, 2012 – Shelved as: tortured-artists
March 24, 2012 – Finished Reading
July 9, 2012 – Shelved as: penguin-classics

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Mike (new)

Mike Puma Another one I'm glad you read so I didn't; although, that cover kinda screams NO to me.

message 2: by Manny (last edited Mar 24, 2012 01:39AM) (new)

Manny Someone just asked notgettingenough if she'd like to collaborate with him on a Salo/Harry Potter mashup, but this sounds in some ways even more appropriate. Or inappropriate. You know what I mean.

message 3: by MJ (new) - rated it 3 stars

MJ Nicholls Mike: Oh I liked the cover. Coover's US editions seem to have these ugly striped covers that make the books look even more unappealing than their blurbs. I'm also impressed this book managed to get published by Penguin Classics, when it should clearly be out from Dalkey.

Manny: I think Harry would be safe at this party as long as he sidestepped the punch.

message 4: by Steven (new)

Steven "Coover takes a minimally interesting premise--a cocktail party right out of a Hieronymus Bosch painting as the setting for a send up of the classic Agatha Christie "closed room" mystery--and beats it to death. I guess the meta-joke is that just as the hellish party is inescapable and goes on forever, the book is inescapable and goes on forever. Fortunately, however, the book is escapable-- you have only to stop reading. " - John Sundman, fellow goodreads user.

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