Perchan's Chorea: Eros and Exile

Robert Perchan, Author Watermark Press $17.5 (147p) ISBN 978-0-922820-15-3
This pleasingly off-center novella by an American professor at a South Korean university comprises sketches and prose poems; it's an East-West swap meet of linguistic anecdotes, word lists, news clips, film and book reviews, TV cartoons, an account of plastic surgery, advice to the lovelorn and Korean erotica. The setting is the cohabitation of a poet and a prostitute who engage in a lively exchange of cultural oddities, nearly all of them rooted in the body. The punning title links the country's name with both a sexually transmitted disease and a spasmodic tic. The Korean word for a woman's breast, which translates as ``milk room,'' prompts images of her body as a house with corridors. Recipes for home medicaments and food can be viscerally revolting, or comic--as when a woman unleashes a stream of ``scolding'' invective against a pot of boiling clams because the recipe instructs her to ``scald'' them. Perchan interjects pithy observations on the varieties of Buddha, e.g., Edgar Allan Buddha, ``on the edge--or in the Pit''; and Buddha, M.B.A., ``on the path of Tao-Jones.'' A persistent reference to the culture's demeaning treatment of women runs through the book's wealth of serious fun. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
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