The subject of this unique book of short fiction is masturbation, a practice both universal and virtually taboo. In sixty-one vignettes, Mathews records the imaginative varieties of this solitary activity in prose that is playful, intimate, urgent, quirky, and humane.
About the Author
Born in New York in 1930, Harry Mathews settled in Europe in 1952 and has since then lived in Spain, Germany, Italy, and (chiefly) France. When Mathews published his first poems in 1956, he was associated with the so-called New York School of poets, with three of whom (John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, and James Schuyler) he founded the review Locus Solus in 1961. Through his friendship with Georges Perec, he became a member of the Oulipo in 1972. The author of six novels and several collections of poetry, recent publications are THE NEW TOURISM (Sand Paper Press, 2010), Sainte Catherine, a novella written in French (Editions P.O.L, 2000), The Human Country: the Collected Short Stories (Dalkey Archive Press, 2002), The Case of the Persevering Maltese: Collected Essays (Dalkey Archive Press, 2003), OULIPO COMPENDIUM (co-edited with Alastair Brotchie; Atlas Press and Make Now Press, 2005), and My Life in CIA: A Chronicle of 1973 (Dalkey Archive Press, 2005).
Marie Chaix was born in Lyons and raised in Paris, and is the author of nine books. The Summer of the Elder Tree, a memoir and meditation on the theme of separation, and her first book in more than a decade, was published in Paris in 2005, and will appear from Dalkey Archive Press in 2013.
Clemente was born in Naples, Italy. He is an artist. He divides his time between New York, Rome and India.
What People are Saying About This
Like seeds of closeness, like some always penultimate leisure to make it up out of an alphabet of selves, these glimpses yield a gentle, conspiring privacy.
Harry Mathews is a playful, precise writer, a modernist with a singular sense of humor, a stylist whose subject matter often seems irrelevant next to the beauty of his language.
A great ecumenical work.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A book about masturbation, in the best sense!
What pleasure this book gives! I found myself lingering over every turn of Mathew's language and sufficed with affection for those characters with whom we all share a pastime.
I dunno, man. Half of these were hilarious and bizarre, perfect Mathews. The other half were embarassing and Bad Sex Awards candidates. The ones that took the subject "seriously" seemed to fall mainly in the latter category.