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The Pornographer's Poem [Paperback]

Michael Turner
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Paperback, Sept. 26 2000 --  

Book Description

Sept. 26 2000
As a grade seven student living in an affluent suburb of Vancouver, our unnamed narrator and his closest friend Nettie, are introduced to the exciting world of super-8 filmmaking by a progressive young teacher. Together Nettie and the narrator find in film a means of expressing their somewhat skewed world views.

At the age of sixteen the narrator shoots his first adult film, surreptitiously capturing his neighbours having sex. He believes that through representations of sexual activity he can comment on that which he finds both painful and confusing. Nettie, an idealistic poet now away at school, sees in pornography the opportunity to do something artistic, liberating, and socially relevant, and she pushes the narrator to make films that subvert the way the world is constructed. Ultimately, despite his radical intentions, the narrator falls into a world of greed, delusion, and hypocrisy - the same world he once rebelled against.

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Product Description

From Amazon

Written as a transcript between a mysterious interrogator and an unnamed narrator, Michael Turner's The Pornographer's Poem is an unusual take on the coming-of-age novel, transforming the standard elements of teen awakening into a sexy and provocative thriller. The teenage narrator and his friend Nettie Smart live in an affluent part of Vancouver, where they discover that beneath the surface, their cushy world is rife with sexual impropriety. A new teacher, Penny Singleton, turns their social studies class into a film studies course, creating in her two young students a keen interest in filmmaking. When the narrator surreptitiously films his bohemian neighbours in a unique sexual performance, the resulting movie becomes a hit in alternative art circles. Despite his best intentions and the intellectual and artistic encouragement of Nettie, who remains his muse even after she goes off to school in England, the narrator is escorted by a charismatic hoodlum named Flynn into the seamy and dangerous world of pornography, where he quickly falls out of his depth.

Michael Turner's punk roots as leader of legendary folk punk group the Hard Rock Miners, gave a truthful ring to his most famous work, Hard Core Logo, a novel that became a feature film by Bruce McDonald. The Pornographer's Poem, which won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, further reveals Turner as an intelligent and original voice in Canadian fiction. --Moe Berg

From Publishers Weekly

An unnamed narrator recounts his sexual awakening as it relates to porn movies in this odd, inventive and overwrought novel composed of recollections, interrogations, letters, lists and screenplay fragments. At 16, the narrator makes a scratchy Super-8 of his neighbors getting down with their dog and also witnesses his first real porno; after that, he enters the business himself, as a filmmaker and a performer. He and his feminist friend Nettie have a volatile relationship—they fight and make love heatedly and endure long separations. After she gets back from school in England, they start work on a new project, Rich Kid Gang Bang, which pokes fun at all the fancy folks in their Vancouver neighborhood. That's when they meet the magnetic and psychopathic Flynn—and that's when their previous pornographic escapades begin to look nice and wholesome. Dirty talk and drugs, dreams and reality all swirl around in a strange and sometimes impenetrable world, relayed to the reader by a character who prides himself on his ability to lie, even as he's being interrogated by a mysterious and threatening tribunal.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic, gritty, page turner - buy the book! Sept. 27 2003
By Holden
Format:Paperback
I stumbled upon Michael Turner's "The Pornographers Poem", while browsing discount book
shelves at a local book store. I purchased the book partly because of the excellent reviews on the
back cover including praise from the Globe and Mail.
I wasn't disappointed. Michael Turner's writing is very good, almost poetic. He is a master of
creating time and place, I could see the beach from his words.
I won't spoil the story by delving too deeply in the format, which is similar to an interrogation, by
an unnamed person. This however is the most effective part of the story and it makes for a most
satisfying ending.
After finishing the book, I have often thought about it and I realize that there could be many
different endings and you're never sure exactly which truths our main character has shared or withheld from his interrogator.
The book is raw and real in some parts, so it might offend the faint of heart, but those who appreciate serious, fresh writing will find this to be an excellent book.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic, gritty, page turner - buy the book! Sept. 27 2003
By Holden - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I stumbled upon Michael Turner's "The Pornographers Poem", while browsing discount book
shelves at a local book store. I purchased the book partly because of the excellent reviews on the
back cover including praise from the Globe and Mail.
I wasn't disappointed. Michael Turner's writing is very good, almost poetic. He is a master of
creating time and place, I could see the beach from his words.
I won't spoil the story by delving too deeply in the format, which is similar to an interrogation, by
an unnamed person. This however is the most effective part of the story and it makes for a most
satisfying ending.
After finishing the book, I have often thought about it and I realize that there could be many
different endings and you're never sure exactly which truths our main character has shared or withheld from his interrogator.
The book is raw and real in some parts, so it might offend the faint of heart, but those who appreciate serious, fresh writing will find this to be an excellent book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1999 April 7 2009
By Marcel Daniels - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
When I read Michael Turner's novel The Pornographers Poem I was 21 years old. I purchased it signed by the author at a reduced price. I had dropped out of University, talked about nothing but that novel on many drives on 401 Highway. I discovered an open form of writing that has influenced me today, as it had ten years ago. The openess of style, the themes that are presented, children aging and discovering themselves through the act of sexual film orientation. The entertainment of the novel not yet matched or revisited by Mr. Turner. The last novel he has written? Well,I hope not. Maybe sooner than later. A Canadian book that I hope will be republished again, maybe with some author comments.
2.0 out of 5 stars Extremely bland Feb. 6 2014
By Lavon Youins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This novel was an extremely slow read. There isn't so much of a plot as a sort of fever dream of an adolescent boy's recounting of how he fell into the profession of a pornographic filmmaker, and his vying to create art through it. The prose stylings is one of the most interesting I've ever seen, so kudos to that; I thought it was fun, but the content left me in a constant state of wanting. I will admit, there were many passages that were genuinely funny/ironic and I literally laughed out loud. I feel that this novel is very forgettable.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting premise May 29 2005
By Ariel Meadow Stallings - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
An interestingly written novel, "The Pornographer's Poem" is a great read diminished only by numerous distracting typos. Where was the copyeditor on this one? This story and this author deserve better.
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