cover image My Pinup

My Pinup

Hilton Als. New Directions, $11.95 trade paper (48p) ISBN 978-0-8112-3449-8

Pulitzer winner Als (White Girls) brings serpentine prose and acerbic wit to this slim, two-part take on Prince, desire, and loss. Als fashions Prince as the avatar of his own lovers, as well as Als’s many changing selves (“I saw his difference. It was like yours, Prince. Was I in love with him or with you when I met you backstage in St. Louis or saw you in Texas?”), and these strands of sexuality mingle with confusion and injustices, among them Prince and other Black artists’ forfeiture of their own work to their record labels. Meanwhile, Als examines how poet and cultural critic Dorothy Parker haunted Prince as the subject of his 1987 song, and by extension Als as he tries to understand Parker’s role in Prince’s life and his own; she could be the lover that they both seek, or the self that they portray to others. Als also recounts watching Prince pander to white audiences and producers and then return to a more recognizable version of himself with his 2004 album Musicology. Don’t be fooled by the page count, Als conjures entire worlds between these covers. Readers are sure to find pleasure and pain in this bite-size delight. (Nov.)