THE END OF BEING KNOWN: A Memoir

Michael Klein, Author . Univ. of Wisconsin $19.95 (135p) ISBN 978-0-299-18870-2

Although this entry in Wisconsin's Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiographies series is labeled "a memoir," poet and anthologist Klein pastes together a sheaf of autobiographical meditations that drift and sweep aimlessly, unable to coalesce. Klein's previous memoir, Track Conditions (to be re-released along with this title), covered his five-year stint as a groom in a world-class Ohio racing stable, his abuse by his stepfather and his addiction to alcohol; this quasi-sequel adds a few revelations. In poetic chapters, Klein explains how sobriety has led to the "end of being known," his inability to conduct a successful long-term relationship. He attends a marathon sex workshop in TriBeCa, in lower Manhattan, in which adventurous men shed both clothes and inhibitions, but the experience brings Klein no real happiness. He remembers sexual liaisons with both his twin brother as well as his stepfather, the first a childish twin thing, the second all too adult and threatening. He ponders the rarity of being a twin, moves to a suburb "the month the planes crashed into the buildings into New York." Klein's prose style, like his poetry, is dreamy, allusive, repetitive in that way that admirers term "hypnotic." The book's focus is all too often on the foggy beaches of Provincetown, the bleak seascapes and boardwalk consolations, giving the book an annoying elusiveness. Fans of Klein will want to catch up with what he's been doing in the years since, but novices should start somewhere else. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 08/11/2003
Release date: 10/01/2003
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X
X