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Killing Johnny Fry : A Sexistential Novel
This bold new novel from Walter Mosley startles in both its rawness and its honest portrayal of a man on a quest for sexual redemption in midlife. When Cordell Carmel catches his longtime girlfriend with another man, the act that he witnesses seems to dissolve all the boundaries he knows. In that instant, the calm existence of this middle-aged New York City man becomes something unrecognizable: he wants revenge, but also something more. Killing Johnny Fry is the story of Cordell's dark, funny, soulful, and outrageously explicit sexual odyssey in search of a new way of life. His guide is a mysterious woman named Sisypha, who leads him deep into the erotic heart of the city.
Killing Johnny Fry marks new territory for Walter Mosley, bestselling author of Devil in a Blue Dress and many other books in different genres: sci-fi, politics, literary fiction. It will surprise, provoke, inspire, and make you blush. Above all, it is about a man questioning the rules we take for granted--and the powerful and sometimes disturbing connections that occur between people when these rules are removed.
Mosley returns from the vastly underrated Fortunate Son and from Fear of the Dark with a piece of what one might call "deep erotica": there's plenty of sex, and also plenty of motivation for it within protagonist Cordel Carmel's travails and ruminations, as far-fetched as they can get. After a charged-but-chaste lunch with young Lucy Carmichael (a blonde in her early 20s looking to be introduced to Cordel's art agent friend), Cordel, 45, walks in on Joelle (his longtime, non-live-in girlfriend): Joelle's being very consensually sodomized by a white man wearing a red condom, their (very well-endowed) mutual acquaintance, Johnny Fry. Cordel walks out quietly, without being seen. In short order, Cordel buys a porno video and gets enraptured with its sadist star, Sisypha; quits his freelance-translation gig; has conflicted, amazing sex with Joelle (who continues to lie to him); has unconflicted, amazing sex with Lucy (who seems very nice) and with voluptuous neighbor Sasha Bennett (who seems way crazy); meets Sisypha for an Eyes Wide Shut-like experience; seduces the young, ghetto Monica Wells; and finally, within the week, has his confrontation with Johnny Fry. Though it all, Cordel's thoughts on humiliation, submission, pain, family, aging and abuse manage to sustain the wisp-thin plot of this total male fantasy. (Jan.)
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December 25, 2007
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