I Wished

Dennis Cooper. Soho, $25 (144p) ISBN 978-1-64129-304-4
In Cooper’s surreal and elegiac conclusion to the George Miles Cycle (after Period), a writer named Dennis Cooper continues to recount his obsessive love for a friend from adolescence. Cooper declares a mission to convey a sense of George to those who “don’t give a shit about some weird cult writer’s books.” To get there, he tells his own story. At 10, Cooper’s skull was accidentally split by a rusty axe in an event that “subdivided” his consciousness, planting the seeds for his life as a writer. At 15, he meets 12-year-old George at an all-boys high school dance and talks him down from an acid trip. George wants a gun for Christmas, and Cooper imagines himself as Santa Claus, giving him a pistol and watching George shoot himself. Cooper also fantasizes about John Wayne Gacy’s final victim, Robert Piest, because Piest reminds him of George. The passage is one of many boldly transgressive and strangely successful moves in the fractured narrative. Nick Drake’s dark lyrics are a constant, eerie soundtrack to the boys’ young lives, summed up in one of Cooper’s trademark elliptical bon mots (“Nick Drake’s songs are like a pack of dolphins signaling his solitude incoherently to George and other introverted messes”). With tones of John Rechy and André Aciman, this offers a cathartic sense of closure. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/12/2021
Release date: 09/14/2021
Genre: Fiction
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