100 Boyfriends

Brontez Purnell. MCD, $15 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-0-374-53898-9
This stunning collection of vignettes from artist, punk rocker, and Whiting Award winner Purnell (Since I Laid My Burden Down) forms a delightfully crass, kaleidoscopic worldview. Each story introduces new heartbreaks and reminders that moments of intimacy often end in loneliness. In “Boyfriend #666/The Satanist” the narrator describes disappointing sex with a man referred to as “Trench Coat Mafia dick.” In “Boyfriend #4/4/The Drummer” the narrator tenderly asks, “What else is a boyfriend for but to share in mutual epiphany?” Whether falling apart during a punk band’s tour of Europe (“Do They Exist If No One’s Watching?”), searching for sex in rural Alabama (“Hooker Boys (Part Two)”), or sifting through a wealthy man’s drug stash in Hell’s Kitchen (“Boyfriend #100/The Agent”), the characters are joined in their vulnerability and constant longing. The raw, confessional voice in “Meandering (Part Two)” demonstrates the collection’s best quality, as the narrator remarks on the secretive delight of sex with strangers. Purnell brilliantly immerses the reader in Black, queer desire with humor, self-awareness, and just the right amount of vulgarity. Agent: Julia Masnik, Watkins/Loomis Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/19/2020
Release date: 02/02/2021
Genre: Fiction
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