Book by Giovinazzo, Buddy
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Poetic visionaries of an apocalyptic turn have William Blake; and neo-beatnik New York junkies have Buddy Giovinazzo (Life Is Hot in Cracktown, 1993), whose firm grasp of the surreal fin-de-siŠcle urban patois makes for lively page-flipping in his latest, a sort of underground picaresque murder mystery. Racked by terminal brain cancer, Eddie, Giovinazzo's protagonist, is a collector of hard-luck cases: Whores, addicts, and other losers drifting through a sordid vision of Manhattan are all part of Eddie's borderline world. His sister, Denise, is a dominatrix with money troubles who's hatched a scheme to solve her problems: She'll videotape her wealthy johns in compromising positions and blackmail them. Eddie becomes her cameraman. When Denise is murdered--beaten to a pulp, presumably by one of the guys she was blackmailing--Eddie takes a woozy vow to find her killer. He enlists the aid of his new girlfriend, Kaval, a wayward trust-fund baby with a hair-trigger temper who helps drag Eddie out of his pharmaceutically managed funk. Particularly harrowing is the account of the twisted couple's visit to Kaval's parents in Los Angeles. Eddie is prone to hallucinations that both drive and obscure the plot; particularly visceral are his run-ins with a manipulative dog who seems to serve as a kind of devilish tempter. A few appearances by his pedophile stepfather add a pinch more of nastiness to an already disturbing and grisly tale. Off the deep end for the second half of the book--as well as armed and dangerous--Eddie lets his search for the truth become less and less focused. But when you can read prose like ``The sun beat down like Astroturf on plastic bones, and standing in the corner I saw colors of hunger and longing but all the different colors were black,'' who needs clarity? A relentlessly grim urban pastiche that nonetheless never lets down its central character, whose heart really is in the right place. Weirdly ennobling. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
An uneven novel that fails to create a convincing, consistent world, Poetry and Purgatory proves that gritty detail can't take the place of plot and characters, or of depth and import. There's a promising start and a few virtuoso riffs?"I watched a broken umbrella die in the street"?but the book soon begins to skitter over the surfaces of the lives of a man dying of brain cancer, his dominatrix sister who is murdered and his girlfriend, dying from AIDS. The superabundance of imagery and cartoonish characters suggest a Chandleresque treatment of dark and satiric exaggeration, but the irony falls far short, as does Giovinazzo's (Life Is Hot in Cracktown) attempt to effect a postmodern subversion of the urban murder mystery. In fact, it often never rises above the cliche?"runaway whores hustling their bodies like vending machines"?or the ridiculous?"livid lashes fluttered falsely." And the sloppy. At one point, the narrator describes somebody grabbing his "limpid wrist." By the last sixth of the book, Giovinazzo does hit a stride in which the narrator's discovery of some family secrets is disturbingly self-revelatory. Giovinazzo finally blends the rant and imagery with the characters and thrust of his story. This is a book too long by two thirds, and its repetitive descriptions of the demimonde are more of an interruption than an enhancement. The writing often sinks into a hallucinatory word-bath that is supposed to reveal the tortured inner world of the main character. The shame is that Giovinazzo can write engrossing scenes when he eschews the formulaic and surface for the delineation of emotions.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Thunder's Mouth Pr, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111560251336
Book Description Thunder's Mouth Pr, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M1560251336