The Celibacy Club

The Celibacy Club

by Janice Eidus


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This vibrant collection of nineteen short stories by the two-time winner of the prestigious O. Henry Prize is by turns erotic, wildly funny, bawdy, and poignant. Eidus explores our contemporary obsessions: sex—both safe and not-so-safe; Prozac, the '90s drug of choice; Nautilus machine mania; the sinister attraction of vampires; film star James Dean; and rock ‘n’ roll icons Axl Rose and Elvis—all with dazzling range.

Janice Eidus’ quirky characters seek transcendence in exotic ways, and they sometimes even find it. These unpredictable stories demonstrate that Janice Eidus continues to be “…one of the freshest and most idiosyncratic voices from the fiction frontier."—The San Francisco Chronicle

In "Gypsy Lore," one of 19 stories in Janice Eidus's collection, The Celibacy Club, 15-year-old Anna asks a fortune teller about sex. "He comes in, he goes out. He comes in, he goes out. That's all," the gypsy replies. The gypsy's evident ennui about sex might apply just as easily to this collection itself, in which a lot happens but nothing much matters. In the title story, Nancy joins a celibacy club where everyone talks about why they're not having sex. Then she has sex with one of the club members, quits the club and buys a condo in the Bronx. In "Making Love, Making Movies" screenwriter Jeff inexplicably starts cheating on his wife of ten years, an actress obsessed with Sigourney Weaver. During each affair he casts himself as a different Hollywood actor, while each encounter becomes a scenario for yet another trite film cliché in his hackneyed mind.

Ms. Eidus's tales are often amusing, but she tends to substitute pop culture references for character development, and high concept ideas, i.e., a Barbie doll goes to group therapy, for theme. Still, readers who enjoy this type of ultra-hip urban story-telling may well find The Celibacy Club entertaining reading.

"Eidus' powerful stories about men and women waging silent wars against the culture have the eerie effect of waking us up even though we didn't know we were sleeping."—Hal Sirowitz, author of Mother Said

"Janice Eidus is more entertaining than the Marquis de Sade in a dress. Her juxtaposition of emotion—from the brazenly wicked to the ardently tender—will leave the reader breathless. The Celibacy Club is definitely a club you will want to join."

"Balancing humor and depth, the 19 short stories in this collection reflect the quirky voice, at once cynical and sincere, that has made Eidus a two-time winner of the O. Henry Award. In their funniest moments, Eidus's stories have serious subtexts of isolation, addiction, abuse and despair."—Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780872863224
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publication date: 01/01/2001
Pages: 199
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Janice Eidus, winner of two O. Henry Prizes, is the author of a novel Faithful Rebecca, and the short story collections Vito Loves Geraldine and The Celibacy Club. She lives in New York City.

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The Celibacy Club 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Janice Eidus¿s The Celibacy Club is an incredible collection of short stories. Eidus weaves into her tales a masterful blend of dark humor, harsh reality, and sarcasm, all with an underlying tone of hope. Although many of her stories are set against the gritty New York City backdrop where the author grew up, they have a remarkable universality and can be easily understood and related to by readers everywhere. In the title story, a young woman vows herself abstinent and becomes a member of a curious little group of celibates that meets in a small Bronx apartment. Things are working out fine, until the lady develops a crush on the wealthy and dashing bachelor who carpools to the meetings with her! Witty and bizarre characters engage each other in vibrant dialogue throughout the book, but it is Eidus¿s ability to write inner monologues for her characters that makes them so endearing. The stories are a keyhole into the characters¿ heads through which there is just enough room for peeking. They often take a sort of ¿journal entry¿ tone, as if the reader is snooping through the characters¿ diaries. In all nineteen of her stories, Eidus makes sure the reader is along for the ride, making them a companion to her characters, a confidant, or a sounding board through her characters¿ journeys for transcendence out of the grimy inner city world they inhabit. After reading The Celibacy Club, one is likely to feel jolted by discovering the boundaries of his or her surroundings, the dreadful normalcy of it all. At the same time, readers will be uplifted that there are, as The Celibacy Club¿s characters demonstrate, ways to make the routine a little more interesting. With sex, drugs, Elvis and Axl, there is never a dull moment.