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Exquisite Corpse Paperback – Aug 20 1997

3.8 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (Aug. 20 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684836270
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684836270
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #143,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

You've probably heard that this love story about two cannibalistic serial killers (loosely modeled after Dennis Nilsen and Jeffrey Dahmer) is over the top. You've been warned about the lovingly meticulous descriptions of murder and necrophilia. But the novel also features a keen look at the AIDS plague, in a setting almost worth dying for: Brite's doomed aesthetes dance in a sweet, heady New Orleans of milky coffee and beignets, alligators, Billy Holiday tunes, scented candles, pirate radio, swamp French, andouille sausage and one bar for every 175 people. And the structure is the tightest of Brite's books so far. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Blood-soaked sheets, cannibalism, rotting, half-dissected corpses: this gruesome psychological horror novel has all the grue a reader might?or might not?want. Brite (Drawing Blood, 1993), the reigning queen of Generation-X splatterpunks, pulls out the stops in this ghastly tale of two serial killers who find true love over the body of a murdered and mutilated boy in the historic French Quarter of New Orleans. Londoner Andrew Compton, imprisoned for the necrophiliac slayings of 23 young men, escapes from prison by (rather unbelievably) faking his own death and killing the coroners gathered to autopsy his body. Fleeing to Louisiana, he hooks up with Jay Byrne, slacker scion of a wealthy old family, a man whose murders are even more fiendish than Compton's own. Brite is a highly competent stylist with a knack for depicting convincing, if monstrous, characters. Her plot development rests too heavily on coincidence, however, and on an excess of details drawn from the life of real-world serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer. Though Brite shifts point of view throughout, she always returns to Compton's first person. This technique gives the narrative rhythm and emotional force but also seems aimed toward intimating the reader in Compton's acts of dehumanization ("the aesthetics of dismemberment") and depravity. And so what Brite really presents here is, ultimately, yet another crimson leaf in the literature of the pornography of violence.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Sometimes a man grows tired of carrying everything the world heaps upon his head. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
After I finished reading Exquisite Corpse, I was struck by the thought that one could, with the benefit of hindsight, make the argument that it is a transitional work in the sense that it represents a bridge between Poppy's earlier writing in horror to her current desire to write realistically about "real life" in New Orleans, as she does in her latest novel Liquor. In other words, EC is a transitional novel in that it contains both the fantastic elements of her earlier work (in this case, sophisticated serial killers) and the realistic concerns of her present day work (in this case, the horrible reality of the AIDS epidemic). Really, the only thing that keeps EC from being a totally realistic novel is her rather romanticized portrayal of the two serial killers. I say romanticized because most serial killers are mindnumbingly prosaic as human beings, and the only thing that makes them "interesting" is the fact that they have managed to kill a lot of people before being caught. I read biographies of both Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer, and I found myself depressed by the absolute banality of their lives. They, or most real life serial killers, aren't exactly the real life counterparts of Poppy's Andrew Compton or Thomas Harris's Hannibal Lecter.
The horror in Exquisite Corpse is not derived from supernatural sources like with Poppy's earlier novels, such as the vampires as in Lost Souls, or a haunted house in Drawing Blood. Rather, the horror in EC is derived from the sources we find in real life such as violence and disease.
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Format: Paperback
Andrew Compton is a sickly twisted serial killer who seeks both solace and beauty in the slaying of young boys. However, his art cannot be perfected while in prison. Thus, Compton feigns his own death and escapes to the US. Quite unintentionally, Compton runs into a man named Jay Byrne while in New Orleans. They find they have a deep, inexplicable bond that few would understand. They both revel in the beauty that is death and torment. Thus, the two set out in search of their next victim, Tran, a disillusioned youth recently kicked out of his home and onto the streets because of his homosexuality.
Though this book contains necrophilia, extreme violence, cannibalism, and gore, in no way is this a horror novel. Rather, "Exquisite Corpse" seems to fall into a category of disturbingly erotic romance and/or twenty-first century pop-culture literature. No matter how one decides to classify this novel, it can be said that this is a novel that will not soon be forgotten.
This thought-provoking book will have you cringing in disgust, writhing in torment, and engaged with awe all at the same time. Poppy Z Brite has a way of sucking the reader in with her elegant prose and gorgeously vivid description that seems unrivalled by many other authors. There are few who can make torture and pain beautifully artistic. True, this book is not for the feint of heart, but if you can stomach the seemingly repulsive atrocities on the surface and dig for the deeper meaning, there is wisdom and insight to be found there.
Poppy Z Brite approaches homosexuality and AIDS in a straightforward, no-holds barred manner. What has been, and still is, taboo for many is not for her. She brings current issues plaguing our society to the surface and forces the reader to acknowledge them.
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By A Customer on April 10 2004
Format: Paperback
I came to this book through searching for a horror title(having read Brite's comments on Thomas Ligotti and Caitlin Kiernan).
While "Exquisite" is relatively engaging in the same manner as all "who-can-look-away-from-a-train wreck "-type literature is, it is lacking in originality or multi-perspective voice, which is important seeing that it encompasses 4+ characters, all of whom are described(in inner thoughts and outer actions) in relatively the same voice.
I think the most telling aspect is the Dennis Cooper blurb on the front cover of the copy that I have. Whether or not Brite's novel is intentionally referencing Cooper's work, it is highly derivative when compared to his oeuvre (in terms of ultra-violence that happens to be homo-sexual and aimed at certain beautiful, young males who seem to, knowingly or not, beg for a victim stance).
It is also a bit tired in terms of the whole serial killer m.o: if its intention is to shock, is the "strangely logical and precise" illogicism of animalistic and repeated murder any longer original or shocking? In sum, no.
It is definitely gross and sometimes spot-on in it's aping of the crime descriptions of a killer who sees his crimes through the lens of an arch aesthete. I also admired a late plot turn that -- without giving away too much info -- involved the "fated" meeting of two individuals. The humid, savage New Orleans descriptions were also nice.
I also admire Brite's moxie in tackling a male voice and genre and getting so many pornographic (in terms of male, gay sex) details right.
Intriguing, if not ground-breaking or earth-shattering. Recommended for an interesting read, but don't expect to be overly surprised or overcome by subtlety or fineness of prose.
I recommend Cooper's "Closer" for something more believable, if not extreme, in the same vein.
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