Exquisite Corpse

Exquisite Corpse

4.1 55
by Poppy Z. Brite
     
 

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From the author of Lost Souls, Drawing Blood, and Wormwood comes a thrilling and chilling novel that bestselling author Peter Straub says serves as a “guidebook to hell.”

To serial slayer Andrew Compton, murder is an art, the most intimate art. After feigning his own death to escape from prison, Compton makes his way to the United

Overview

From the author of Lost Souls, Drawing Blood, and Wormwood comes a thrilling and chilling novel that bestselling author Peter Straub says serves as a “guidebook to hell.”

To serial slayer Andrew Compton, murder is an art, the most intimate art. After feigning his own death to escape from prison, Compton makes his way to the United States with the sole ambition of bringing his “art” to new heights. Tortured by his own perverse desires, and drawn to possess and destroy young boys, Compton inadvertently joins forces with Jay Byrne, a dissolute playboy who has pushed his “art” to limits even Compton hadn’t previously imagined. Together, Compton and Byrne set their sights on an exquisite young Vietnamese-American runaway, Tran, whom they deem to be the perfect victim.

Swiftly moving from the grimy streets of London’s Piccadilly Circus to the decadence of the New Orleans French Quarter, Poppy Z. Brite dissects the landscape of torture and invites us into the mind of a killer. Exquisite Corpse confirms Brite as a writer who defies categorization. It is a novel for those who dare trespass where the sacred and profane become one.

Editorial Reviews

James Marcus

With a resume that includes such titles as Drawing Blood and Swamp Foetus, the 29-year-old Poppy Z. Brite is a rising star in the world of horror fiction. However, Exquisite Corpse is the first of her books to be issued by a mainstream trade publisher. Has the author softened her approach in hopes of winning a wider audience? Not for a single blood-spattered page.

The protagonists of Exquisite Corpse are Andrew Compton, an English serial killer, and Jay Byrne, an American serial killer with an impressive collection of pickled and frozen corpses in his backyard. Not surprisingly, their activities make for plenty of throat-slitting, disembowelment and necrophilia. Cannibalism, too, gets its due, particularly when Jay feels like snacking: "He sank his teeth into flesh that had gone the consistency of firm pudding. He ripped at the edges of the wound, pulling off strips of skin and meat, swallowing them whole, smearing his face with his own saliva and what little juice remained in this chill tissue."

There is, to be fair, an unmistakable intelligence at work here, and a grisly sense of rightness when these two killing machines meet in a New Orleans gay bar and fall in love. But the unrelenting gore grows monotonous, and Brite seems deaf to the black-comic undertones of what she's doing. Instead she's drawn to the earnest and aesthetic side of serial murder -- there may be human viscera on display everywhere, but the book itself is oddly heartless. -- Salon

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Blood-soaked sheets, cannibalism, rotting, half-dissected corpses: this gruesome psychological horror novel has all the grue a reader mightor 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. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Acclaimed horror writer Brite (Drawing Blood, LJ 10/1/93) has never been one to mince words, but even the most hardened among us will cringe when reading this latest, which easily surpasses Brett Easton Ellis's American Psycho on the gore-o-meter. English serial killer Andrew Compton, who killed 23 boys before being caught, escapes from prison and makes his way to Louisiana, where he inadvertently teams up with another fellow who shares his appetite for dismemberment and necrophilia. Young Tran, a gay Louisiana teen who is evicted by his Vietnamese father, foolishly proffers himself to our vicious pair. Tran's only hope for surviving the encounter with all limbs intact is his ex-lover Luke, a tough but AIDS-weakened writer who rants about heterosexual America on a pirate radio station, using the name "Lush Rimbaugh." All in all, Exquisite Corpse is a rub-it-in-your face novel that is all the more terrifying because of its author's razor-sharp prose. Purchase wherever Brite has a following.Mark Annichiarico, "Library Journal"
Susan Larson
Poppy Z. Brite is the mistress of the gruesome but unforgettable image.
The Times Picayune (New Orleans)
From the Publisher
Peter Straub Author of The Hellfire Club As perfectly named as its author, Exquisite Corpse treats the dead human body like a communion wafer. It is Poppy Z. Brite's distinction to have understood immediately that real horror (unlike the make-believe variety which lumbers brainlessly through so many books) has an intimate connection to the most profound emotions, those evoked by an experience of the sacred. She is the only writer I know who could write a guidebook to Hell that would make me want to go there.

Dennis Cooper Author of Frisk, Wrong, and Try Poppy Z. Brite's Exquisite Corpse has an intelligence, sweep, nerve, knowledge, and deeply unsettling erotic power that make most other so-called transgressive novels du jour seem like romance novels in a grouchy mood.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781439136409
Publisher:
Touchstone
Publication date:
08/20/1997
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
407,815
File size:
2 MB

What People are saying about this

Peter Straub
She is the only writer I know who could write a guidebook to hell that would make me want to go there.
—(Peter Straub, author of The Hellfire Club)
Dennis Cooper
Exquisite Corpse makes most other so—called transgressive novels du jour seem like romance novels in a bad mood.
—(Dennis Cooper, author of Frisk, Wrong, and Try)

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Exquisite Corpse 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My favorite book! It's equally compelling and disturbing with in your face characters. Don't read this if you're offended by homosexual relationships, serial killers, pirate radio stations, necrophilia, blood, guts, drugs, alchohol, incest, canibalism...(did I leave anything out?)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've never read anything like this in my life! I was so intrigued by this book that I read it in one day. Which I don't think I have ever done. This book is scary, violent, gory, and erotic! Loved it!
Melanie Scott More than 1 year ago
I first got this book when I was a sophmore in high school when I stumbled across it. Quickly became my all time favorite book. 13 years later it still engrosses me with every read. I have lent this book to other and none of them have been able to handel it but I LOVE LOVE LOVE this booklr
Strawberry-Suzy More than 1 year ago
This is car crash kind of disturbing, but I couldn't stop reading! Devilish and dirty and addicting!
AutumnK More than 1 year ago
I had read several other Brite stories before I picked this one up and always loved them. My first read of Exquisite Corpse however was pretty shocking. I couldn't decide whether or not I loved it, or wanted to put it behind my desk and forget I bought it. Fortunately, I decided to give it another try and reread it a couple weeks later. Once I got over the initial shock value of this book it immediately became a loved book. Though it is not a book for everyone (most of my friends included in that category), if you are a lover of Poppy you should really enjoy this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I got this book, it was almost by accident. I was bored out of my mind and it was just sitting there, so i picked it up and started reading. The first character you meet is Andrew. A killer in captive. The first hints about his love of men caught me off guard. I wasn't expecting him to be gay. Then as you read the rest of the story, you can't imagine it any other way. It's perfect. The characters are fantastic and irreplacable. I keep telling all my friends about this book, and even my choppy renditions throw them into story-stupor. It's wonderful. Definitely suggested.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite book. Yes it's gory and addresses issues that most people aren't exactly comfortable with, but it's beautifully written! I love Andrew and Jays warped points of view, and Luke's crazed rants about HIV and AIDS are actually pretty informative. This book is exhilarating and heartbreaking at the same time, if you have the stomach for it, it will easily become one of your favorites too!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting serial killer story, but it seems like nobody had the guts to proofread and edit. Pun intended.
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This is the most amazing story. I really loved it. If you have an open mind i think you would love it also.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The changing point of view keeps the novel fresh and exciting. Every detai is amazing and in the end I felt oddly connected to each character.
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