Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A great review from Richard Labonte!

So Many Ways to Sleep Badly, by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore. City Lights Books, 252 pages, $14.95 paper.

The unnamed narrator of this fabulously flamboyant novel turns tricks for money and, on client-free occasions, cruises adult movie theaters or the Internet for blowjobs, in search of a human connection as much as for sexual release. He frets about rats in the ceiling and roaches on the walls, obsesses over how his hair looks before leaving the apartment, and camps it up for queer street protests – with makeup a must. He's carrying on a troubled romance with a beautiful boyfriend, and coping with chronic pain rooted most probably in childhood abuse. Such is the life of an under-30 gender-queer activist in San Francisco, the city that quite gloriously never really grows up. Sycamore – whose spirited real-life blog echoes many of the book's witty, bitchy, and philosophically trenchant moments – captures the committed insouciance of his tale's quirky characters with a refreshingly non-traditional prose style. There isn't much narrative linearity here – nothing really resembling a beginning, a middle, or an end – but Sycamore's luscious prowess with prose – coupled with an easy gender fluidity – is evocative and provocative and literarily seductive.

-- Richard Labonte's syndicated "Bookmarks" column


Lisa Harney said...

Wow, a review actually about the book.

Yay. :)

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

I know -- a review about the book, indeed! Two more reviews that are actually about the book...

Love --