Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Review: Chaos by Edmund White

Edmund White
Chaos

Published by Carroll & Graf

Reviewed by Shaun Frisky
Edmund White has written numerous books including the classic gay coming of age novel - A Boy's Own Story and co-edited a book which charts the queer life and sexual geography of America - The Joy of Gay Sex. Now he offers a new highly revealing book CHAOS. The title novella details a man named Jack's burning need for raunchy cock stroking encounters and his endless quest to realize his sexual fantasies in reality. For this author, gay sex is the vibrant pulsing blood of life whether it can be found sucking off an ex-Mormon with a big dick or rimming a cop in training. Desire doesn’t become any uglier the older we get (though some dismiss it as such); it simply becomes less ashamed of itself. This rampant manly need causes a new set of difficulties in the character’s life as he ages, but it needs no more justification than it ever did. A passion for beauty and a taste for flesh comes naturally for a man like Jack.













White presents a snap-shot of life in New York City as it is today for a man out on the prowl. As this author loves to do in so much of his writing, CHAOS walks the fine line between fiction and autobiography teasingly letting you guess what parts are true and what is fantasy. Did he really pay a man to do THAT to him? The story plunges into the depths of despair and climbs the heights of ecstasy. Only a masterful writer can explore such a diverse terrain over so few pages. In addition to this novella, there’s a magical story contained in this book called “Record Time” which was first released in a beautiful marbled-cover limited edition by Enitharmon Press a few years back (if you were lucky enough to get a copy). This short story is about an adolescent boy trying to scrape together a sense of culture and greatness in his small town life. There's no doubt that when gays rule the earth in a thousand years time they'll look back and view Edmund White and his astoundingly insightful books on homo-life as the pillars upon which queer identity is built. CHAOS is an invigorating and thoughtful gem. Read it in a soapy warm bath while waiting for your man to come home.

Photos by Kurt

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