Synopses & Reviews
Five years of breakdown separate pianist Theo Mangroves last recital in Europe from his planned comeback in Aigues-Mortes, "the town of dead water." At home in tiny East Kills, NY, Theo begins jotting in 25 notebooks, purchased all at once and addressed to his mother. Theos wife, aside from servicing two of Theos twenty daily erections, will have nothing to do with him. The other eighteentaken care of by male hustlers, random strangers in YMCA locker-rooms and naked piano studentscontribute to Theos sense of dissolution as his "comeback" approaches. Overcome with the belief that Moira Orfei, queen of the Italian circus during the 1960s, must perform with him, Theo begins to write to her and to pen what may or may not be her cryptic replies into his notebooks. In a fugue of notes and troubling memories, Theo prepares for Aigues-Mortes, struggling with Moiras guidance towards one final, full celebration of "the partial, the flawed, the almost, the not quite." Peopled by piano playing relatives, prostitutes, muses and manipulators; poet and cultural critic Wayne Koestenbaums first novel shines a hot light on the treacherous crossroads of sex, death, family and popular culture.
Pianist Theo Mangrove's planned comeback is imminent, but he's losing his nerve. While restlessly counting down the days until a performance in the French town of Aigues-Mortes, he becomes strangely convinced that Moira Orfei, a 1960s Italian circus queen, must perform with him. As he begins to turn his displaced creativity and relentless sexual energy on a series of male hustlers, random strangers, and music students, Theo wonders whether he will be able to channel his passions into one final celebration of "the partial, the flawed, the almost, the not quite." Peopled by pianists, prostitutes, muses, and manipulators, this debut novel by noted poet and cultural critic Wayne Koestenbaum hums with obsessive energy and examines one artist's choices at the crossroads of sex, death, and creativity.
Peopled by pianists, prostitutes, muses, and manipulators, this debut novel by the noted poet and cultural critic hums with obsessive energy and examines one artist's choices at the crossroads of sex, death, and creativity.