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The Sadness of Sex by Barry Yourgrau

The Sadness of Sex (edition 1995)

by Barry Yourgrau

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622191,731 (3.65)None
Title:The Sadness of Sex
Authors:Barry Yourgrau
Info:Delta (1995), Edition: Later Printing, Paperback, 255 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:short stories, humor

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The Sadness of Sex by Barry Yourgrau



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Barry Yourgrau wins the grand prize in the category of short-story writer with a vivid imagination. And in this collection of 90 whacky, surreal micro-stories, Barry turns his extraordinary imaginative powers to the topic of Eros, or, in more plain language, that good ol’ trio to which we can all relate: love, lust, sex. To share a taste of what a reader will find in these pages, here are the openings from 5 of my favorites (the last one is mine):


My girlfriend leaves me. I become so unhinged that I douse myself with flammable liquid and set myself on fire. I squat in an awkward hideous position on the sidewalk, bleating her name as I gasp in shock at what I’ve done. The chaos of flames envelopes me and the air about me trembles. Passersby scramble away in horror, their faces covered behind their arms. Their screaming gives way to the shrieking of sirens, I topple stiffly onto my side, crackling, unconscious.


I sit in a café in late morning. A girl hurries by. She gives a distracted smile. She’s quite pretty. In an appealing way. I stare hurriedly down at my coffee. I stir it with a spoon that trembles. A while later, she goes by again. I can’t stop myself: I look. She’s not pretty, I realize. She’s lovely! She’s utterly, wonderfully lovely! I groan and shift my shoes about on the floor and clutch the little round table with both hands. ------ Youtube video of this story with Barry as actor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaQ7nZBV0_s


I track a girl I fancy through the park. My little friend is helping. It’s slow going. The path veers up and down all the time and the stubby wings my friend sports are in fact just ornamental, so I’m forced to lug him about on my back, so he can keep up. The arrows in his quiver jab me in the neck. I have to put him down repeatedly to make him rearrange things. --------- Again, a Youtube video of this story with Barry acting as main character: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwzFTW_A6J0


I get a job at a hospital. It’s for victims of love. The wards are dingy and ill furnished, and the sufferings of the stricken in their squalor are truly heartrending. I’m overwhelmed. I have to stuff my ears with bathroom tissue to try to shut out the moans of anguish, the cries of longing, the desperate monologues into imaginary telephones that are never answered, never connected. Even semibuffered so, the tears often drip down my chin as I ply my mop sluggishly up and down the worn, crumbling corridors.


I have the good fortune to die and come back to life during far, far bygone days of a golden age. I find myself in the palm-crested precincts of some balmy South Seas isle. The locals are as benevolent as you could ever hope, physically glamorous and culturally on the simple side, and spotlessly clean of person. ------- Turns out, the young girls on the island lack one very important body part necessary for experiencing intense pleasure: a clitoris. But, no problem, Barry proposes a solution to the local old crone Shaman – sewing in a pearl. The results are fantastic beyond belief! Bizarre? Well, from my own experience I can say that when you open yourself to your unconscious dream-world and then mold those crazy images into short prose, be prepared for some disturbing mindbenders and weird combinations you wouldn’t want to repeat in polite company. Recognizing this psychoanalytic fact and in the spirit of Barry’s story of Golden Age, here is a short piece I wrote some years ago:


On their feet, whistling, hooting, shouting, applauding, feet stomping in unison, the audience responds to a command performance by the soloist and orchestra of a cello concerto. There is a call, especially from the tuxedoed young men, for an encore! encore! But the cellist, a fetching young lady with long golden hair curling down over her shoulders and framing her fairy-tale princess face couldn’t play another note even if she wanted to. Anyone could see her energy is spent, her skin flushed and perspiring. All her skin, that is, for she is completely naked, having used her body for her cello, clitoris for bowstrings and the middle finger of her right hand for her bow.

( )
  GlennRussell | Feb 16, 2017 |
This WAS sad. An odd downer. Didn't hold my interest. ( )
  DaveCullen | Jun 1, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385313764, Paperback)

From the man The New York Times Book  Review called "an uncommon  diagnostician of the curiosities of the human heart" and  hailed on NPR (National Public Radio) as "the  stand-up comedian of the unconscious" comes  this extraordinary new collction of metaphor-rich,  wildly imaginative short-short stories. Barry  Yourgrau, who performs his written work in clubs  across the country and on NPR, Comedy Central, MTVs  Spoken Word programs, and in an upcoming one-man  feature film, now explores the imagination's twilight  terrain in which love, lust, and loss reside in  this achingly beautiful and rich surreal tour de  force. An affair with a cannibal woman is filled with  devouring kisses. A flower sprouts from a woman's  flesh wherever a man kisses her, impeding their  lovemaking. An abandoned lover seeks repair of the  cuckoo clock that is his heart. Exploring the  archetypal he-and-she from the first glance to the  last tortured look, this exhilirating new collection  of flash-fiction--short-short stories thematically  connected--merges Freud with Fellini, Kafka with  Woody Allen. At once sad, alarming, and wickedly  brilliant, Barry Yourgrau is, in the uneasy land of  desire and heartbreak, the spokesman for our  secret self.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:17 -0400)

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