Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Chronicle Book Review

We interrupt this regularly scheduled program to bring you a special announcement.

Yesterday the Chronicle published my review of Anthony Giardina's White Guys.

You can read it here.

Pretty much everything else in this post is adult content, so consider yourself warned. Another travel post will come soon enough.


Because the Chron is something of a family newspaper, the extended quote that I really wanted to use—where Tim O'Kane masturbates to the picture of a black model in Brides—couldn't really be included.

It's much creepier than I what I was able to quote, however, and I'd just like to include it as a record of record of both the excellent way Giardina handles the latent racism of his narrator and as a piece of good writing, plain and simple.

I sat on the closed cover of the toilet and tried to empty my mind. Three magazines were in a wicker basket next to the toilet. Boating, Modern Maturity, and Brides. I picked up Brides (it was the closest) and flipped through the succession of articles on wedding cakes, on dresses and floral arrangements, on gift ideas for the groomsmen. In the photographs, pastels dominated; the light was soft and the sun perpetual. There was a predominance of blondes, and the world seemed exclusively white. Even the very occasional black guests and the single black bride looked as if they had been dipped in the vat of the suburban, so that their color seemed an accident, a clung-to habit from earlier, less-prosperous days. Looking at them, I couldn't help but remember what Kenny had said about the story that the city embraced to explain Billy's and Patty's shootings: our fear of the dark one appearing out of nowhere, gunning for us. Not these. Not these clever, handsome men and this doe-eyed, full-lipped bride who gazed directly at me, who I wanted to fuck. I wanted to loosen my pants and unleash my already partially swollen dick and imagine those black lips parting to receive it. We would go inside this old stone house where her very white wedding was taking place, and I would fuck her blind. Jesus. I would fuck her back into her own blackness.

I dropped the magazine and tried to forcibly close off this line of thought. Already my hand had gone to my dick, already I was holding it, feeling its familiar distended skin. I was forty-one years old, too old for this, but did we ever stop looking for consolation this way? The desire to fuck a beautiful black model could at least remove me for a second or two from the impoverished life of being Tony Di Nardi's son-in-law, humiliated at a grand party because this confused, powerful man could not decide what he wanted. (pp. 213-4)

Much thanks to Rosa Miller, by the way, for helping me not embarrass myself in talking about the coded language that Tim O'Kane uses. Rosa, I really appreciate it.

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