A cradle-to-grave search for love takes a suburban kid as far away as the killing fields of Cambodia, where he falls in love with Vanna, a prostitute from Phnom Penh
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The prolific Vollmann, fresh from a sadomasochistic survey in Thirteen Stories and Thirteen Epitaphs (p. 258), makes another savage thrust into society's sexual fringes with this fractured tale of Southeast Asian prostitutes and a journalist who couldn't say no. The ``Butterfly boy,'' first seen at school, has no friends among his male peers, instead being terrorized by them and by a bully until he is saved by a girl admirer. Ever the outcast, as an adult he travels with a photographer to Thailand and Cambodia on assignment, but the two spend far more time with the prostitutes than gathering material for a story. Unlike the photographer who uses his women without becoming interested in them, the journalist approaches them sympathetically, with an earnestness that both attracts and embarrasses them. By the time he returns to San Francisco, he's fallen in love with a Cambodian woman and become HIV-positive; he wants only to divorce his wife, however, and bring Vanna and her child to America. Unable to locate her from a distance, he begs another assignment, eventually reaching Bangkok and crossing clandestinely into Cambodia, but language difficulties and social differences keep him from achieving his goal. Under the corrosive influence of his callous fellow traveller, he allows himself to be tempted by other flesh--but in the fevered state brought on by various sexually transmitted diseases, a bottle of Benadryl is ultimately his only consolation. The flesh-peddling and sensory overload of Southeast Asia fill every page, but they're given such a weak lead that the story has nowhere to go: scenes of decay and corruption rule in unchallenged succession. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
The prolific Vollmann weighs in with at least his third hyper-realized meditation on female prostitution. But whereas Whores for Gloria had an imaginative conceit worthy of Borges and Thirteen Stories and Thirteen Epitaphs teetered provocatively between a Baedeker and a Book of the Dead, his latest effort falls a bit flat. The "Butterfly Boy" grows up as a nerdish American kid who is routinely abused by bullies at school. His adolescent trials, configured against a backdrop of American atrocities in Vietnam, are relieved only by the affections of a particularly plucky girl who then moves away. This sets the stage for the protagonist's adult explorations of love and violence in the Far East, where, as "the journalist," he pals with "the photographer," and together they insist on developing relationships with a series of prostitutes. As always, Vollmann's style--gritty detail stirred with hallucinated fancy--perfectly serves his investigation of the profane, which in this case includes the vile horrors exacted by the Khmer Rouge. However, the heart of this darkness is not convincingly evoked, and readers may begin to wonder if the exoticism of the Orient and its women is not just a handy occasion for Vollmann to act out a forbidden fantasy.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Descripción NY: Grove Press, 1993. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Estado de la sobrecubierta: As New. 1st Edition. First edition (so stated), 1st printing (with number sequence beginning with 1). ABSOLUTELY FINE (no names, bookplates, remainder marks, or writing of any kind etc.), with FINE dust jacket with the $21.00 price intact. New -- unread. Nº de ref. de la librería 2033
Descripción Grove Press, 1993. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Estado de la sobrecubierta: New. First Edition; First Printing. Book and DJ New. No names or ANY markings. DJ not price clipped ($21) ; 281 pages; Yes,mint 1st edition. Nº de ref. de la librería 5361
Descripción NY: Grove Press, 1993. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Estado de la sobrecubierta: New. 1st Edition. First edition (so stated), 1st printing (with number sequence beginning with 1). SIGNED BY VOLLMANN on the title page. ABSOLUTELY FINE (no names, bookplates, remainder marks, or writing of any kind etc.), with FINE dustjacket with the $21.00 price intact. New -- unread. Signed by Author(s). Nº de ref. de la librería 2035
Descripción The Grove Press, 1993. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P110802115020
Descripción Grove, 1993. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Estado de la sobrecubierta: New. 1st Edition.... NY: Grove, 1993. First Edition. First Printing. Hardbound. New/New. Comes with archival-quality mylar dust jacket protector. Shipped in well padded box. Smoke-free, smell-free, defect-free. An unread crisp pristine copy. You cannot find a better copy. 0.0. Nº de ref. de la librería 2297
Descripción The Grove Press. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. 0802115020 New Condition. Nº de ref. de la librería NEW7.0368411
Descripción The Grove Press, 1993. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX0802115020