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Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite

Exquisite Corpse (1996)

by Poppy Z. Brite

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1,321395,894 (3.77)29

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I finally picked up this book after remembering what a big splash the author made back in the mid-90s. I have to say that the splash was well deserved. If you know anything about the author’s books, you know that I mean that in the ways you’re probably thinking. But I also mean it in others.

The quality of the writing here is very strong. The characters are all generally drawn quite well, with the exception of

Andrew’s voice is compelling, and as he drives a majority of the events, having him take the lead in the first chapter is an excellent choice. And, despite the fact that he is a serial killer who revels in all the usual cruelty and unique bloodiness his obsession entails, he is a compelling character whenever his scenes queue up. A bad guy readers love to hate and love at the same time.

It is a particular testament to the author’s skill to note that the method by which Andrew escapes from prison is drawn quite believably in the novel…even skeptical readers will agree to suspend their disbelief.

Jay is a budding killer who has the discipline to avoid fouling the city where he lives with his own kills…until Tran, a particularly beautiful Vietnamese hustler throws his considerable charms at Jay’s feet.

Tran’s sections are very well drawn, and allow readers to walk in yet a third lifestyle and mindset that is very different than the first two offered up in this book.

Lucas is the one that is the least compelling. Perhaps this is because his illness keeps him quiet in terms of activity, or perhaps it’s because he has the most common, almost suburban, existence of all the characters. Still, his portrait, when added to the other three, rounds out this work and creates a richness that otherwise would be lacking.

The four are pulled ever more tightly together. The two killers begin to work together, and there is that bloody finale that had so many people squawking when the work came out. (The author was rejected by the publisher of all his previous books because of the gruesome climactic orgy.) Which certainly is shocking but really isn’t any more horrible or ugly to read than many of the sections the killer recalls and enacts in preceding scenes. Which leads you to wonder why this was rejected at all.

If you’re a gory fiction fan, this one is for you!

4 stars

If you enjoy stories that capture the mind of killers, you should check out [b:Beloved: A Sensual Noir Thriller|31159964|Beloved A Sensual Noir Thriller|Laine Cunningham|https://d2arxad8u2l0g7.cloudfront.net/books/1469650329s/31159964.jpg|23316671]. ( )
  Laine-Cunningham | Oct 4, 2016 |
It's difficult to give this book a rating.

When I was younger, I loved this book. I'd never read anything like it and I was really pleased to see such a huge cast of queer characters. I would need to read this again to see if it was actually problematic. (Evidently, it would be in parts because the main protagonist is seriously unlikeable and a terrible human being).

Would I make it a favourite again? I'm not quite sure.

But I do really have very fond memories of this book and loved it for how unapologetic it was. It's sort of an erotic horror, I suppose, it's in a genre all its own, and Brite is actually a really interesting writer and in a class all their own.

Although I will say that this novel isn't for everyone, but I enjoyed it in all its boldness. ( )
  lydia1879 | Aug 31, 2016 |
When I was 13 I attempted to read this book, and now, I distinctly remember throwing it away in disgust after the first chapter.
This novel truly is *disgusting*, vile, extremely disturbing, putrid. Feel brave? Come on in.
This would be equivalent to a scratch and sniff garbage pail kid sticker, labeled bloody fart.
But....SERIOUSLY this retched story sucks you right in, twists and turns you all around, has you writhing in gore, wincing through DETAILED rough gay sex, and squirming through the wretchedness of HIV and necrophilia.
When it’s through with YOU, it spits you right out to rot in your own stench in the relentless sun.
Absolutely terrifying. I had an actual night terror/ sleep paralysis from this book. I swore it was from having the book on my bed while I slept. I woke up and threw it off my bed.
I made it through, I have no plans to read it again, as it is not my favorite genre of horror (necrophilia) But I pay my respects to Brite, he sure knows how to TERRIFY me.
I do plan to revisit all her titles now that I am an adult and not my rad 90s goth tween self, looking at the world through rose colored glasses.
( )
  XoVictoryXo | May 31, 2016 |
A convicted serial killer (based on real life psychopath Dennis Nilsen) leaves his prison cell as a dead man and rises again to build a new life. His journey takes him to New Orleans' French Quarter- to the decadent bars and frivolous boys that haunt the luscious dark corners of a town brought up on Voodoo and the dark arts. Anticipating a willing victim he finds an equal (based on real life psychopath Jeffrey Dahmer), something he never expected even in his wildest dreams... Two men thrown together by fate share dangerous desires and a love that brings fear along with lust, and leaves a trail of blood from London to the USA.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
This is the last Brite book I read. She excells at creating moments and images like gory diamonds, but the overall plot is just a means for her to get from lurid detail A to eyeball eating B. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
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Records of the 1994 autopsy of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer reveal that officials kept Dahmer's body shackled at the feet during the entire procedure, "such was the fear of this man," according to pathologist Robert Huntington.
Milwaukee Journal–AP, March 17, 1995
To my mother, Connie Burton Brite, who gave me all the guts I would ever need.
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Sometimes a man grows tired of carrying everything the world heaps upon his head.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684836270, Paperback)

You've probably heard that this love story about two cannibalistic serial killers (loosely modeled after Dennis Nilsen and Jeffrey Dahmer) is over the top. You've been warned about the lovingly meticulous descriptions of murder and necrophilia. But the novel also features a keen look at the AIDS plague, in a setting almost worth dying for: Brite's doomed aesthetes dance in a sweet, heady New Orleans of milky coffee and beignets, alligators, Billy Holiday tunes, scented candles, pirate radio, swamp French, andouille sausage and one bar for every 175 people. And the structure is the tightest of Brite's books so far.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:33 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The adventures of an English killer who has sex with corpses and eats them. After escaping from jail he kills an American tourist, takes his identity and flees to the U.S. He teams up with a local necrophile and together they feast on a Vietnamese teenager.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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