Physically beautiful and strangely passive, George Miles becomes the object of his friends' passions, and one after another, they all ransack him for love or anything else they can trust in the mindlessness of middle America. What they find assaults the senses as it engages the mind, in a novel that explores the limits of experience and the horrow in the world around us.
“A story about how desire can persist to the brink of self-destruction and beyond. . . . A work of considerable courage.” — The New York Review of Books
When Dennis is thirteen, he sees a series of photographs of a boy apparently unimaginably mutilated. Dennis is not shocked, but stunned by their mystery and their power; their glimpse at the reality of death. Some years later, Dennis meets the boy who posed for the photographs. He did it for love.
Surrounded by images of violence, the celebrity of horror, news of disease, a wasteland of sex, Dennis flies to Europe, having discovered some clues about the photographs: “I see these criminals on the news who’ve killed someone methodically, and they’re free. They know something amazing. You can just tell.” What they know may lie in bodies themselves. Bodies are unavoidably real; what’s in them must have something to say, even in a society that lives on images and fantasies. An isolated windmill in Holland provides the perfect setting for Dennis to find out more about bodies—of which there are many—and what is inside them.
“An electrifying study in carnage” — Sunday Times
In Try, Dennis Cooper continues his investigation of the frailties and excesses of human existence. Ziggy is the adopted teenage son of two sexually abusive fathers, whose failed experiment at nuclear family living has left him stranded with one and increasingly present in the fantasies of the other. He turns from both of these men to his uncle, who sells pornographic videos on the black market, and to his best friend, a drug addict whose own vulnerability inspires in him a fierce and awkward devotion.
“Painfully poignant... Beneath the queasy surface, no novelist empathizes more with the pathos of put-upon youth.” — Spin
Narrated in a voice that may be construed as the author's own, Guide is the story of the conflict between a novelist's fantasy life and his inability to represent it in language. Remembering the clarity he felt during an LSD trip in his teens, 'Dennis' drops acid and attempts to write a novel that will make sense of his life, his desires, his friends, and his art.
“With Guide, America’s most daring novelist has given us his masterpiece.” — The Face
“The most seductively frightening, best written novel of contemporary urban life that anyone has attempted in a long time; it’s the funniest, too, and does for Clinton’s America what The Tin Drum did for postwar Germany.” — Los Angeles Times Book Review (10 Best Books of 1997)
Set in a spare, smoke-and-mirror-filled world of secret websites, Goth bands, Satanism, pornography and Outsider art, Period is at once a monument to the memory of George Miles and a literary disappearing act as mysterious as it is logical. The final statement of Cooper's five-book cycle.
“A Chinese puzzle of a book... executed with such a deft touch...you’ll want to start over as soon as you’ve finished. A triumphant finale to one of the most intense series of novels ever written.” — Mondo
“Haunting.” — Details
"I began writing the 'George Miles Cycle' in 1986 when I was living in Amsterdam. At that time, I was coming out a period of intensive experimentation with drugs, sex, and extreme behavior. It had been a kind of artistic quest to gain first hand knowledge and understanding of certain fantasies I'd had since I was kid so that I could write about them with sufficient authority. I had decided to write the novel cycle in my late teens, but it had taken me many years to get to the point where I felt I had the skills and wherewithal to begin this project. Over those years, I'd developed a game plan or overall structure for the cycle. It would take the form of a novel being gradually dismembered to nothing. The first novel would construct the themes, archetypes, subjects, style, and atmosphere of the cycle. The first novel would be the cycle's body, and the succeeding novels could only consist of its material. Each succeeding novel's form would reflect the damage caused by the violence, drug use, and emotional turmoil of the previous novel. The damage would destroy some material in the previous novel and make it unavailable for use. It would also shuffle the material, bringing certain material to the foreground and relegating other material to the background. Parallel to this dismemberment in stages structure would be a mirrored structure where the first novel would seem to gradually move through a mirror and eventually, over the course of the cycle, become a backwards reflection of itself. This would create the effect of a kind of magic trick, which I hoped would lend the work a mystical, charismatic quality, as well providing a very strict, formal structure. I hoped that this strict structure combined with the more instinctive, chaotic dismemberment structure, would give the cycle the dual qualities of excessive form and improvisational looseness. Each novel itself would employ these dual structural principles within its own form. These contradictory structuring principles would reflect and elucidate the central contradiction in the work, and in my own psyche, of unqualified love and support for George Miles and unqualified fascination with the sexual fantasy of possessing, exploring, and destroying young men like him. George would be the central character of the cycle, but, because of the effect of the mirroring structure, he would mutate, subdivide, and shift from one identity to another to suit each novel's central purpose, then gradually reformulate into George by the final novel of the cycle, while always retaining his general appearance and emotional/ psychological make up. I had a general sense that the cycle would consist of five novels, but that wasn't set in stone. Within that premise of five novels in mind, I'd decided that each of the middle three books would concentrate on one of the ways in which I viewed my subjects. The second novel (Frisk) would prioritize the libidinal, sexual, erotic appeal. The third novel (Try) would prioritize my emotional response. The fourth novel (Guide) would prioritize the cerebral, intellectual, and analytical. The fifth novel (Period) would present what remained after all of the examination, trickery, and damage of the central three novels, creating Closer's decimated, resolved twin. So the task of writing Closer was to both realize all these predetermined notions while creating a novel with enough material within it to sustain the cycle that would follow. Just before I started writing Closer, I became very ill. I assumed it was merely fall out from all the drugs I had been doing, but as I started writing the novel, I felt worse and worse, and my whole body became covered with sores. I could barely move, and eventually had to go the emergency room of a hospital where I was given a series of tests. I really thought I was dying, probably of AIDS. But a week later, the tests came back and I had German measles. Measles sounds like a no big deal disease, but getting it as an adult is very serious. I was massively sick and literally could not get out of bed for weeks. I lay there and worked on my novel day and night. My boyfriend of that time would come by to cook me food and visit. After a few weeks I could stand up and take a few steps, but it was another month before I was able to do more than walk a block or two without becoming completely exhausted. I wrote all the time, using notes I'd made over the years, and utilizing some drafts of chapters I'd started at various points, and I finished Closer after about six months of nonstop, intensive work. I had completed the first part of a project that I had dreamed of writing since I was a teenager, and I had set my course as a writer for the next eleven years of my life".
George Miles Archive:
- 'George' by Dennis Cooper
- Photos from the 2000 conference on the Cycle
- Buy the books from Amazon
- Cooper Archives - NYU/Fales Library
- A long Dennis Cooper interview with Robert Gluck
- Cooper astrological chart
- profile of Cooper - Salon.com
- DC resource at Disinformation
- DC resource - links, info page at Daze Reader
- Japanese DC resource/webpage
- 'The Most Dangerous Writer in America - by Richard Goldstein