Sunday, November 11, 2001

Geez. Last night I got this weird idea that I should read the entirety of Dennis Cooper's Closer before I went to sleep. For some reason I thought it would calm me down...

wrong, wrong, wrong.

On the one hand, it's very beautiful in places and always well-written. I feel a lot of the characters, especially George. He's obviously extremely different me (I've never felt the urge to engage in casual gay sex), but I really identify with a lot of the feelings of loneliness, meaninglessness, low self-esteem, loss of purpose, and the need to be loved that he feels in the book. There's one entry about him closing his eyes and yearning for a kiss from someone. It's the only thing in the world that will make him happy and he is denied it. Cooper's hitting a lot of the emotions I've been going through right on the head.
However, Closer really distrubed me. It's not as blatant as Frisk, but it still explores some horrid depths of humyn possibility that can be truly painful to examine. In typical Cooper style, murderous desire is directly forced into the reader's consciousness. You are forced to come to terms with the fact that people do horrible things to eachother and that they get pleasure from it. However, what hurt me even more (and kept me up for the rest of the night in despair), was the way that people treated each other. Several characters commodify George and use him like an object. He becomes reduced to this thing that doesn't even deserved to be cared for or loved. His life is steadily shattered and he is reduced to a hollow shell by the various characters that he comes into contact with. Eventually, one of them even tries to kill him for some death fetish. No one expresses a ton of sympathy for him until George's new friend threatens turn Tom in at the end of the book.
In less than 150 pages, Cooper has summed up a lot of my outlook on the world right now. He shows real people caught up in the midst of a chaotic and violent world that they don't deserve. I can't even come to grips with what that means right now. I don't understand why people I know have been hurt by others or what role I play in that process. Cooper fleshed out my emotions and really freaked me out. I spent the remainder of the night in various stages of anger, sadness, and frustration. It's hard to sleep when you know that everyone around you is hurting inside and that you can't do anything about it.

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