Adventures of Lucky Pierre: Directors' Cut

Overview

Lucky Pierre is the most famous man in Cinecity, where pornography is the basis of social norms and the mayoral motto is “Pro Bono Pubis.” He walks to work (the studio where his films are made) in the winter cold, icicles tipping his constantly exposed and engorged penis, and every small interaction provides another opportunity for exercising his prurient art.

This vision of a sexualized universe is unique in that social power (and the power to direct, rather than merely appear ...

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Overview

Lucky Pierre is the most famous man in Cinecity, where pornography is the basis of social norms and the mayoral motto is “Pro Bono Pubis.” He walks to work (the studio where his films are made) in the winter cold, icicles tipping his constantly exposed and engorged penis, and every small interaction provides another opportunity for exercising his prurient art.

This vision of a sexualized universe is unique in that social power (and the power to direct, rather than merely appear in, these sex-films) belongs entirely to women. Each chapter (or “reel”) of the book is headed with the name of one of nine women (so, in reality, they are muses, but they are also the artists), and each bears her aesthetic stamp—whether the dominatrix mayor, the experimental avant-garde filmmaker, the ribald cartoonist who “reanimates” him with her pen when he has been left by the mayor in a snowbank to freeze, the wife who makes tender home sex movies, etc. Lucky Pierre himself seems to have no free will, indeed, no existence outside his films. He is commanded by these women, and by the overwhelming impulses of his prodigiously endowed organ.

The book is a collection of fantasies—a man entering his office instantly begins acrobatically copulating with the receptionist on her desk; a piano teacher administers discipline to his nubile young female students; a castaway discovered by the Nine Muses, who have never seen a man before and quickly begin to test his unfamiliar parts; an engagement party turns into a frenzied bacchanal; a wedding into a sadomasochistic ritual and then a chase scene. But satisfaction is complicated. Pierre is often made ridiculous, a clown as much as a leading man, and always, everything that happens to him is seen; there is no part of his life that is not, potentially, a film. Several times, he attempts to escape, but he is always recaptured and punished—or his “escape” is proven never to be real in the first place. For example, he joins up with the Extars, a guerrilla group of squatters who adopt him as “Crazy Leg,” their leader; with them, in particular Lottie, their young leading lady, he rediscovers the vivid joys of life as a sexual outlaw—including copulating with her on the trapeze of a circus. But he can never escape the tentacles of the mayor and the “legit” industry of Cinecity. Later he is offered the chance to rejoin the Extars, his internalization of his new status won’t allow it—if it was ever a real choice.

Are these Pierre’s fantasies? But in a world in which he does not own his own life or his body, where the past can be rewritten as easily as the dialogue can be faked in a redub of one of his scenes, his thoughts are not even his own. Even so, L.P. continues his perhaps futile attempts to define his own destiny. In the end, grown old and decrepit, he learns his next film is titled “The Final Fuck”—i.e., it’s the end of his career. Morose and attempting to avoid the inevitable, he flees to a showing of his own work, which ends up leading him, now resigned to his fate, back to the soundstage—where, in the end, he rediscovers ecstasy, and the closure of his destiny.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Film has long been one of Coover's favorite tropes, used brilliantly in the short story collection A Night at the Movies (1987). His new novel returns to the medium, this time endlessly looping through triple-X porn flicks. Protagonist Lucky Pierre is a porn star buffoon who wanders about Cinecity-the capital of Coover's fictional land-with his penis sticking out of his pants. Cinecity is a porno dystopia where every encounter between man and woman, or for that matter man and animal, or woman and vegetable, is destined to end in sex. The nine "reels" of the novel are dominated by nine different women who are stars, directors and muses. Lucky encounters Cinecity's anti-celebrity guerrilla activists, the Extars, led by Carlotta; gets married in a group orgy to Connie; and is victimized by Cinecity's sadistic mayor, Cora. He suspects that having his penis frozen, falling down an elevator shaft and nearly drowning aren't just filmset accidents, but are actually scripted into an overall film-one in which he is set up as the fall guy. His strategy is to try to find a way out of the film, but in the logic of the novel Lucky himself is merely the embodiment of a film's trajectory, and escape is impossible. The result is a carnival of stasis and penis jokes that shows Coover at his most precious. Some passages are marvels of descriptive prose-fierce, vigorous and pungent-but the endless scenes of torture and smutty closeups are tedious and curiously spiritless, and Coover says little about celluloid culture and movie narratives that he hasn't said elsewhere with more generosity and exuberance. Agent, Georges Borchardt. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Coover, winner of a Lannan Literary Award in Fiction in 2000 and author of Spanking the Maid and Ghost Town, returns with this metafictional romp through a fantastic city where art is the highest form of reality. The title character appears in nine movies whose female directors cast him in diverse sexual roles running the gamut from the creative to the perverse. What will happen when the last reel finishes? Only die-hard Coover fans will tolerate the preponderance of filler to reach the suspenseful conclusion. A meditation on truth and a narrative in the high postmodern style, this book has been done better before by authors such as Coover himself. It is difficult to recommend it for any but the largest collections or those that maintain exhaustive holdings in contemporary fiction. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/02.] Philip Santo, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802140418
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/11/2004
  • Series: Coover, Robert Series
  • Pages: 405
  • Sales rank: 1,412,565
  • Product dimensions: 5.46 (w) x 8.22 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Coover is the award-winning author of fourteen books, most recently Briar Rose (Grove, 1996) and Ghost Town (Holt, 1998). He has won fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and has been the recipient of the William Faulkner Award, the American Academy of Arts & Letters Award, and other honors. His other works of fiction include John’s Wife, The Public Burning, Pinocchio in Venice, and Gerald’s Party. He teaches writing at Brown University, with a concentration in electronic and experimental fiction, and is widely known as “the guru of hypertext fiction.” He divides his time between Providence, RI, London, and Barcelona.

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Read an Excerpt

The Adventures of Lucky Pierre

Director's Cut
By Robert Coover

Grove Atlantic, Inc.

Copyright © 2002 Robert Coover
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-8021-4041-6


Chapter One

Titles & Reel 1: Cecilia

(Cantus.) In the darkness, softly. A whisper becoming a tone, the echo of a tone. Doleful, a soft incipient lament blowing in the night like a wind, like the echo of a wind, a plainsong wafting distantly through the windy chambers of the night, wafting unisonously through the spaced chambers of the bitter night, alas, the solitary city, she that was full of people, thus a distant and hollow epiodion laced with sibilants bewailing the solitary city.

And now, the flickering of a light, a pallor emerging from the darkness as though lit by a candle, a candle guttering in the cold wind, a forgotten candle, hid and found again, casting its doubtful luster on this faint white plane, now visible, now lost again in the tenebrous absences behind the eye.

And still the hushing plaint, undeterred by light, plying its fricatives like a persistent woeful wind, the echo of woe, affanato, piangevole, a piangevole wind rising in the fluttering night through its perfect primes, lamenting the beautiful princess become an unclean widow, an emergence from C, a titular C, tentative and parenthetical, the widow then, weeping sore in the night, the candle searching the pale expanse for form, for the suggestion of form, a balm for the anxious eye, weeping she weepeth.

The glimmering light, the light of the world, now firmer at the center, flickers unsteadily at the outer edges, implications of tangible paraboloids amid the soft anguish, the plainsong exploring its mode, third position athwart, for among all her lovers there are none to comfort her, and the eye finding a horizon, discovering at last a distant geography of synclinal nodes, barren, windblown, now blurring, now defined.

Now defined: a strange valley, brighter at its median and upon the crests than down the slopes, the hint there perhaps of vegetation, like a grove of pines buried in the snow, and still the chant, epicedial, sospirante, she is driven like a hunted animal, C to C and F again, she findeth no rest. How many have died here?

The plainchant, blowing through the gloomy valley like an afflicted widow, continues to mourn the solitary city. Overtaken amid the narrow defiles. Continues to grieve, ignoring the gradual illuminations, a grief caught in secret acrostics, gone into captivity. All her gates are desolate. The eye courses the valley to its yawning embouchure, past a scattering of obscure excrescences with bright tips, courses the dark defile to its radical, this pinched and woebegone pit, mourning its uprooted yew, her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted. Gravis. Innig. In bitterness, yes, con amarezza, she is with bitterness.

Beyond this gnurled foramen, crumpled crater too afflicted to expose its core to chant or candle, lies a quieter brighter field, yet one ringed about with indices of a multitude of transgressions, tight with uncertainty and attenuation, and, as it were, mere propylaeum to the ruptured conventicle of extravagance and savagery just beyond, just below. ...

Ah! What a sight, this wild terrain cleft violently end to end and exposed like an open grave! The light flares and wanes, flutters, as though caught in a sudden gale, as though eclipsed by a flight of harts. Oh woe, her princes are denied a pasture, nature is convulsed, and a terrible commotion, sundered by plosives, sounds all about. Angoscioso and disperato, rising and falling intervals in the tremulous matinal gloom.

Black bars radiate from this turbulent arena, laid on the surrounding hills like the stripes of a rod in the day of wrath, and at the end of the black bars, like whipstocks for the maimed, letters. Flickering neumes: vaginal orifice, labia majora. And not a propylaeum: a perineum. anus: the afflicted pit. Alas, despised because they have seen her nakedness. C to C and F again. Like the echo of letters, the shadow of codes, the breath of labia, yea, she sigheth, and turneth backward, a simple canticle, notations writ on the posteriors of a kneeling woman, this kneeling woman, these posteriors: urethra, clitoris, black indications quavering in this ghostly crepuscular light, the light of the world, the light of a solitary city at the end of night, the coldest hour.

Between the spreading intrados of the massive thighs, below the bitter valley, through a filigree of letters suspended mysteriously in the archway-mons veneris, now sharp, now diffuse-beyond and through all this can be seen the distant teats, hanging in the wind, blowing in the dawn wind, oh, therefore she came down wonderfully, her last end forgotten, heavy teats ready for milking, their fat nipples swollen with promise. They sway in the wind, and something is indeed falling from them, yes, like frozen milk: Snow! Snow is falling, falling from the big teats, snow is swirling in the bitter wind, under the pale corrugated belly of the wintry dawn, blowing out of the anus and the vaginal canal, it is snowing on the city.

O Lord, behold my affliction! A vast desolation, the city, the afflicted city, far as the eye can see, stones heaped up to the end of the earth, lying dead in the winter, dead in the storm; whose hands could have raised up so much emptiness? the enemy hath magnified himself. Yet decrescendo, this, the intervals blurred now by the grinding whine of low-geared motors, for in spite of everything dim towers, ruby-tipped, rise obstinately through the blowing snow, a multitude of lamps blink red and green in fugal progressions down below, chimneys puff out black inversions and raise a defiant clamor of colliding steel, and the snow itself is swallowed up by a million dark alleys, just as their fearful obscurities are obliterated by the blinding snow.

Through the city, through the snow, under the gray belly of metropolitan morning, walks a man, walks the shadow of a solitary man, like the figure in pedestrian-crossing signs, a photogram of a walking man, caught in an empty white triangle, a three-sided barrenness, walking alone in a lifelike parable of empty triads, between a pair of dotted lines, defined as it were by his own purpose: forever to walk between these lines, snow or no snow, taking his risks-or rather, perhaps that is a pedestrian-crossing sign, blurred by the blowing snow, and, yes, the man is just this moment passing under it, trammeling the imaginary channel, the dotted straight and narrow, at right angles. There he is, huddled miserably against the snow and wind and the early hour, shrinking miserably into his own wraps, meeting the pedestrians, those shadows of men making their dotted crossings, at right angles, meeting some head-on as well, brushing through the cold and restless crowds, as horns sound and airbrakes wheeze, sirens wail, all her people sigh-they seek bread-the last whimpering echo of a plainsong guttering like a candle in the morning traffic.

His hat jammed down upon his ears and scowling brows, his overcoat lapels turned up to the hat brim, scarf around his chin, he is all but buried in his winter habit. Only his eyes stare forth, aglitter with vexation and the resolution to press on, and below them his nose, pinched and flared with indignation, his pink cheeks puffed out, blowing frosty clouds of breath through chattering teeth. His mouth, under his mustache, is drawn into a rigid pucker around his two front teeth; my god, it is cold, what the fuck am I doing out here? His hands are stuffed deep in his overcoat pockets, and-poking forth from his thick herringbone wraps like a testy one-eyed malcontent-his penis, ramrod stiff in the morning wind, glistening with ice crystals, livid at the tip, batting aggressively against the sullen crowds, this swirling mass of dark bodies too cold for identities, struggling through the snow, their senses harrowed, intent solely on keeping their brains from freezing.

Oh, my poor doomed ass, I'm in real trouble, he whimpers to himself as he trundles along, tears trickling down his cheeks, teeth clattering, frozen snot in his mustache, up against it, expletives the only thing that can keep him warm, that he can pretend will keep him warm, shouldering his way through a thickening stupefaction, sidestepping the suicides, aching with cold and feeling sorry for himself, sick of keeping it up but scared not to, picking them up, putting them down, there he goes, a living legend, who knows, maybe the last of his kind, seen through a whirl of blowing snow, through a scrim of messages, an unfocused word-filter, lamenting the world's glacial entropy and the snow down his neck, bobbing along in this cold sea of pathetic mourners, this isocephalic compaction of misery and affliction, the dying city and he in it, sending it all to hell yet refusing to quit, refusing to tip over and get trampled into the slush, and so celebrating consciousness after all, in his own wretched way, the man of the moment, the lord of the leg-over, the star, the one and only: Lucky Pierre.

The swish and blast of the passing traffic modulate into a kind of measureless rhythm, not a pulsation so much as an aimless rising and falling, sometimes blunted, sometimes drawn brassily forth. Subways rumble underfoot, airdrills rattle in alleys, and there's the thunder of jets overhead like occasional celestial farts. Tipped wastebaskets spill bottles, newspapers, pamphlets, dead fetuses, throwaway cameras and mobiles, coils of black cable, burnt spoons, old shoes. Cars, spinning gracefully in the icy streets, smash decorously into one another, effecting dampened cymbals, sending heads and carcasses flying through their shattering windshields and crumpling percussively into snowbanks. Above the crowds, a billboard asks: what is my prick doing in your cunt, lizzie? Six blocks away and around the corner, a theater marquee replies: fucking me! fucking me! oh so nicely!

A little old lady, leaning on a cane, hesitates at a curb, peers up at the light, now changing from green to red. Her spectacles are frosted over; icicles hang from her nose; her free hand trembles at her breast, clutching an old frayed shawl. The man, our hero, trying to beat the light, comes charging up, but not in time, skids to a stop, glissandos right into the old lady's humped-over backside, bowling her heels over head into the street with a jab of his stiff penis. There is a brief plaint like the squawk of a turkey as a refuse truck runs her down. Old as she was, it's still all a bit visceral, but soon enough the traffic rolling by has flattened her out, her vitals blending into the dirty slush, her old rags soaking up the rest.

-Pity, someone mutters.

-Life's tough.

-Goddamn street cleaners, never around when you need them.

The light changes, the old lady is trampled away. There's the blur of hurrying feet, kicking, pounding, slogging through the blood, slush, and snow. Thousands of feet. Going all directions. Whush, crump, crump, stomp. Crushing butts, condoms, chewed bones, dead batteries, gum wrappers. Someone's pocket watch. Film tins and beer cans. Crump, crump, crump, a kind of rasper continuo. Wind-up toys and belt buckles. Lost dentures. Projector sprocket. Used needles. Ticket stubs. All those frozen feet, shuffling along, whush, whush, almost whispering: That's right, Maggie, lift your arse and-whush, crump, crump-tickle my balls! Oh shit, it's cold! It's too fucking cold!

No. Stop thinking about it. Change locations. Think warm, think green. Come on, lift your arse and, whush, crump, give it a try. Think nymphet. That's better. Behind a tree maybe, peeking out at one side, at the other showing her sweet little buns, blazing in the sunlight. Sunlight! Imagine! At the edge of a meadow, say, there she is, go for it. Hup two three. Through the wildflowers, into the sun-dappled forest-she takes off, her bright tail flashing like a doe's scut, what a sight!-over fallen trunks, crackling branches, and dry leaves, pick 'em up, put 'em down, you're moving now, splashing through a tinkling brook, up warm mossy rocks, keep it going! Some kind of music....

(Front end of a heavy bus, barreling through the city street, spitting up snow, whipping it into black froth: blaaaat! Printed on its destination sign in the grimy front window: the adventures of lucky pierre.)

Cantilena maybe, piped on a syrinx, good. Cissy'd like that, all' antico, right. The nymphet's scintillating butt luring him, there and then not there, winking like a flickering zoetrope image through the trees and the dappled light, drawing him closer and closer, his breath heaving, his heart pumping, he's got her, they are thrashing about now, their limbs entwined, no snow, no wind, this is great!-no, she's scampered off!-no, he has her, she has him, that's it, keep going, they tumble, keep going, damn it, they tumble in slow motion out of the forest into the soft grass of the meadow, crushing daisies and buttercups, flutes fading, silence drenching now the sunny green space, his heart thumping in his ears, street sounds diminishing to nothing more than a playful whisper in the fading forest-

(Sudden roar of the bus, splattering through snow, blackened with soot, its foglights glowing dully, horn blaring. Sprayed crudely along one muddy side, under the greasy windows: directors' cut. City streets, buildings, people, traffic, go whipping by.)

Sshh! Getting there! Not just one but nine of them now, a pretty anthology in the sunny meadow, that's right, nine nymphets upside down in a tight circle, poised upon their little shoulders, back to back, cheeks to cheeks, peachily radiant in the sunlight, legs spread like the petals of a flower. He hovers busily, his limbs churning, stinger in view, high off the ground, admiring the corolla, many-stemmed, each with its own style and stigma, the variegated pappi blowing in the soft summer breeze; then he drops down-here we go!-to nibble playfully at the keels, suck at the stamina, slip in and out of septa. Distantly: the returning sound of muted trumpets-

BlaaaaaaAAAATT! He jumps back to the curb, but too late, a bus bearing down on him-thwock!-whacks his boner as it goes roaring by: He screams with pain, spins with the impact, and is bowled into the crowd, now crossing with the light, spilling a dozen of them. He catches a glimpse of the bus gunning it on down the street, trailing black fumes like projected shadows, an advertisement spread across its rear-I can see her cunt, gussy!-and what looks like the eye of a gaping pig in the back window, staring out at him. The crowds, rushing and tumbling over him, curse and weep:

-What is it like, Nelly?

He hobbles to the edge of the flow, nursing his bruised cock, looking for a reason to go on, looking for something to wrap it in. He finds a bum sleeping under a newspaper and appropriates page one with its banner head: a large hairy mouth sucking his purple dick.

Aw, hey, listen: fuck it. That's it. No more. Quit.

Continues...


Excerpted from The Adventures of Lucky Pierre by Robert Coover Copyright © 2002 by Robert Coover. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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