I Look Divine

Christopher Coe, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $12.95 (109p) ISBN 978-0-89919-530-8
Like Dorian Gray, the exquisite Nicholas limned in this sleek and troubling novella may become a cult figure. The self-absorbed, narcissistic young man feels he has been exceptional from the moment of his birth by Caesarian section,; he was thus unmarked and more perfect than other babies. ""There is no such thing as more perfect,'' corrects his mother. ``Of course there is,'' says Nicholas. To avoid unsightly lines, he never smiles when photographed; to avoid even a trace of fat, he eats little: the obi of the kimono in which he often poses winds twice around his waist. The men he fancies bestow upon him rare enamels, ivory carvings, jewelsbecause, he explains with apparent guilelessness to his older brother, who narrates the novelit pleases them to do so. But ointments and finery are helpless against the years. At 30 Nicholas the odalisque begins to resemble a tart; at 37 he is dead. His brother, summoned by Nicholas's landlady to collect the lapsed body and now-scarred valuables, looks back fondly, objectively and suggestively upon a life no longer valid once physical beauty is flawed. Sensual, mocking and deadly serious, this first novel casts a long shadow. (September)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1987
Release date: 09/01/1987
Hardcover - 978-0-517-26777-6
Paperback - 109 pages - 978-0-394-75995-1
Paperback - 128 pages - 978-3-86787-630-8
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