Are You Loathsome Tonight?

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Overview

Poppy Z. Brite, author of four novels, LOST SOULS, DRAWING BLOOD, EXQUISITE CORPSE, and THE LAZARUS HEART, plus several collections of short stories, has gone to the edge and back with ARE YOU LOATHSOME TONIGHT (titled SELF-MADE MAN in Europe). Join Poppy as she explores the outermost regions of murder, passion, death and religion in twelve extraordinary short stories. With a foreword by horror master Peter Straub and an afterword by Caitlin R. Kiernan, Brite reaches new heights--and depths--in her explorations ...
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Overview

Poppy Z. Brite, author of four novels, LOST SOULS, DRAWING BLOOD, EXQUISITE CORPSE, and THE LAZARUS HEART, plus several collections of short stories, has gone to the edge and back with ARE YOU LOATHSOME TONIGHT (titled SELF-MADE MAN in Europe). Join Poppy as she explores the outermost regions of murder, passion, death and religion in twelve extraordinary short stories. With a foreword by horror master Peter Straub and an afterword by Caitlin R. Kiernan, Brite reaches new heights--and depths--in her explorations of mind and spirit.
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Editorial Reviews

Faren Miller
...[Explores] the darkness at the heart of things....[F]eatures a number of superb stories, powerful in style and characters....fearlessly offbeat...
Locus
Faren Miller
...[Explores] the darkness at the heart of things....[F]eatures a number of superb stories, powerful in style and characters....fearlessly offbeat...
Locus
horroronline
This slim second collection from Poppy Z. Brite displays considerable diversity in its twelve stories from a splendid writer who is, all too often, unfairly denigrated as some sort of Dark Mistress of Perversity. Although Brite lives delightfully up to her wicked reputation when writing, for instance, in first-person maggot with Baudelarian intensity ("In Vermis Veritas") or diving into decadent sex and bloody death with "Saved" (written with Christa Faust), she's often at her best when employing historical figures -- sixties British playwright Joe Orton in Entertaining Mr. Orton, a New Orleans serial killer from the second decade of this century in Mussolini and the Axeman's Jazz -- to broaden her range for puissant effect. Several short pieces present familiar characters from previous works, are set-ups for wry jokes, or both. Brite is maturing into a deeper mastery of her craft, and it will be interesting to see if Are You Loathsome Tonight? marks a transition for Brite. An unusual and oddly insightful collage of an introduction by Peter Straub, a personal afterword from Caitlin Kiernan, brief story notes by the author, and cover art and interiors (including graphically enhanced nudes of the author) aren't just padding for the obviously sparse word count, but truly enhance the book's appeal.
horroronline
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781887368162
  • Publisher: Gauntlet, Incorporated CO
  • Publication date: 10/1/1998
  • Edition description: SIGNED
  • Pages: 193
  • Product dimensions: 5.83 (w) x 8.85 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Read an Excerpt

In Vermis Veritas

In 1996 I was asked to write an introduction to Registry of Death, a graphic novel by Matthew Coyle and Peter Lamb, which was being published by Kitchen Sink Press. Here's what I came up with. This is the first in a loosely linked series of fiction in which all the characters will be worms or larvae.

In Vermis Veritas

"It's nothing to do with mortality but it's to do with the great beauty of the color of meat." So said Francis Bacon, an artist of the twentieth century, explaining why he painted scenes of gore and squalor. While admiring his sentiment, I would also postulate that Bacon's appreciation for the color of meat made him a connoisseur of the very mortality he pretended to eschew.

I consider myself a connoisseur of mortality. While my millions of brethren and sistren chew, chew, chew their way through whatever offal comes along, inexorable but mindless, I preserve my energies for the sweetest meat: the carcass tainted by fear. The carcass that suffered the protracted death, the agonizing death. Meat crisped alive by fire, meat sliced open by steel, meat with a bullet in its gut.

Here in the slaughterhouse, I dine well.

It is everything to do with mortality. It is the great beauty of the color of meat, of its many colors: the spongy purple of drowned flesh, the translucent rose of fresh viscera, the seething indigo of rot. Bacon must have painted in the slaughterhouse. It is the great beauty of the flavor of meat, of its many flavors.

When we reduce a carcass to bone, we not only reveal its structure; we become composed of its elements. For most of the others, this is a matter of breakingdown proteins and replenishing simple larval tissues. For me it is a kind of catharsis. I take on the qualities of the deceased, I am nourished by his perceptions, and perhaps somehow I aid in releasing his soul.

Consequently, I have lived thousands of lives. I have memorized countless tomes, and written more than a few. I have constructed dynasties, then torn them down or watched them fall. I have been a foetus in a womb and a guru in a cave. I have digested the concepts of "freedom" and "love" and "eternity," and excreted them, over and over again.

Men kill other men, sometimes for sport, sometimes for love, sometimes just sending them to the slaughterhouse to feed still more men -- or, if left too long, to feed me and my kin. Each one thinks he has lived in the worst of times, but nothing has ever been different.

I curl in the slightly damaged brain of a young man who died for no particular reason, after a protracted and honorable hunt. The glistening whorls are dissolving, coming unglued, breaking down into their chemical components. I gorge myself on the primordial soup of his mind. The terrible realization that dawned upon him at the moment of death sharpens the taste.

I become drunk on his flood of experiences and emotions. I synthesize his knowledge. I live his entire life in the time it takes me to eat a path through his liquefying brain. I wallow in his world. I die his weary death.

As always, it makes me glad to be a maggot in the slaughterhouse and not a man.

Copyright © 1998 by Poppy Z. Brite

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Table of Contents

Introduction ix
In Vermis Veritas 3
Arise 7
Saved (with Christa Faust) 21
King of the Cats (with David Ferguson) 37
Self-Made Man 47
Pin Money 65
America 73
Entertaining Mr. Orton 79
Monday's Special 91
Vine of the Soul 97
Mussolini and the Axeman's Jazz 107
Are You Loathsome Tonight? 129
... And In Closing (For Now) 134
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