cover image Impossible Princess: Stories

Impossible Princess: Stories

Kevin Killian, . . City Lights, $15.95 (164pp) ISBN 978-0-87286-528-0

Ten homoerotic stories by Killian (Spreadeagle ) explore startling encounters between the straight and gay worlds. Several of the stories, set in the 1970s, appeared in Killian's previous collections, such as “Hot Lights,” in which a strapped-for-cash student gets hired for a hardcore porn shoot, and “Spurt,” set in a Long Island motel where a couple of commuters congregate to indulge in morbid sex. Others are elaborate romances, such as “Dietmar Lutz Mon Amour,” where an erotic encounter with a security guard in the basement of San Francisco's De Young museum provides a fulfilling intellectual kinship for the married narrator, and “Too Far,” in which a straight swimming pool salesman from Maryland clearly wants to experiment with a man at a party, though he may get more than he anticipates. Killian is best being self-consciously writerly, as in “Rochester,” in which a naïve writer arrives at the dilapidated home of the legendary writer “Kevin Killian,” only to discover a decrepit has-been who keeps a pet chimpanzee typing in the bedroom. Fans of Killian's work will be pleased to find fresh stimulation with shades of Dennis Cooper. (Nov.)