You just don’t find compilations like this in the marketplace these days. Editor Sara Nicklès has managed to pull together chapters and stories from literary greats to speak on three delicious vices (all of which the reviewer happens to enjoy).
The subject matter here can be deliciously racy, ranging from a six-line “gentle blowjob” poem to a hilarious personal log of sexual failure and misadventure. Also humorously written, Dorothy Parker’s piece on a dandy’s life gone awry is satisfyingly crafted, while Mark Twain delivers his usual wit and charm in a jeremiad regarding tobacco.
Sam Shepard jostles with Henry Miller and Charles Bukowski in the collection, and the general feel overall is somewhat voyeuristic. But do not be deceived. One might consider this compilation a work of guerilla literacy.
The subject matter is deceptively aimed at the lowest common denominator, but surreptitiously introduces unsuspecting perverts and drunks to writers of the highest order.
There’s a touch of feminism and misogyny in equal shares here, and no one story covers just one vice, even if it focuses on one (or fetishises it). Satire abounds, and Art Hoppe’s hilarious bit on why college students need to drink more should punch any lingering boomer romanticism right in its fat, nasty, sagging face. It was squarely aimed at their era. In other words, send a copy to your parents and bookmark it for them.
Unless you are a grim, tee-totaling fascist worm of a person whose entire life is built around making other people obey your will, this is a must-have encyclopedia of vice. If you are one of the above described, then you can go fuck yourself. Meanwhile, I’ll light up, down a Dreher and consider bare-backing your drunken, “feminist” sister.