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Plastic Jesus

A novel by

Publisher's Weekly
Brite trades the modern gothic gloom that has chilled most of her fiction to date (Lost Souls; Exquisite Corpse; etc.) for sunny '60s nostalgia in this warm but slight roman clef celebrating the Beatles. In her version, the fab four are the Kydds, Liverpool is Leyborough and Lennon and McCartney are, respectively, Seth Grealy and Peyton Masters, creative soulmates whose music takes the world by storm. The twist that turns this homage into one of Brite's trademark explorations of sexual identity is her depiction of Grealy and Masters's working relationship blossoming into a gay romance. The boys' love for one another is an inevitable outgrowth of the feelings they express in song--but it becomes a point of public controversy that breaks the band apart and sets up Seth for his murder by homophobic assassin Ray Brinker. Though Brite is sensitive in her portrayal of Grealy and Masters's relationship, she is almost too reverent in her fidelity to Beatlemania. The brief tale moves too rapidly and reflexively through well-known historical highlights--the band's adoption by manager Brian Epstein (incarnated here as gay record store owner Harold Loomis), their experiments in music and drugs, their vilification by the religious right--for events to have any resonance with the central love story. It ends with a wistful wish-fulfillment fantasy too improbable to support its professed moral that "love is worth dying for." In an afterword, Brite reveals she had originally plotted this tale as a full-length novel. Greater length might have yielded greater substance than this fannish tribute. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

Kirkus Reviews
In earlier fiction, Brite used the music of Charlie Parker, the life and art of R. Crumb (the brilliant Drawing Blood, 1993), the necrophilia of Jeffrey Dahmer, and the anchovy shape and wormwood flavor of H. P. Lovecraft as entrance points into her own sparkling fantasy life in print. This time, it's John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The fact remains that Brite's most original novel is still her first, Lost Souls (1992), a wildly eloquent, Deep South blues and rock 'n' roll variation on vampirism among white-trash musicians, a work seemingly not based on famous originals, though we could be wrong. Plastic Jesus, a novella also illustrated by the author, turns Lennon and McCartney into Seth Grealy and Peyton Masters, who begin as straights with girls crawling all over them but later become lovers and even are married by a rogue priest in one of Amsterdam's newly legalized cannabis coffee shops. The career of the two, beginning with teenage years in Leyborough (read Liverpool), follows quite closely that of the Beatles, although Ringo and George (as Dennis and Mark) are barely minor characters. The first turning point comes when the musicians' manager, Harold (read Brian), more or less seduces Seth and is later murdered by some rough trade. Seth goes into a deep slump from which only Peyton's love can rescue him, a love, however, that also gives Peyton control of the band. The lovers go public at Stonewall Inn after the gay riots in Greenwich Village. Seth is assassinated, and afterward Peyton goes to Seth's shrink, Jonathan Pumphrey, and tells him their life-story. The story's thin suspense comes when Peyton focuses on killing the assassin.Missing:Brite's lyricism and soaring fantasy (as when R. Crumb physically enters Parker's music in Birdland), the very qualities germane to psychedelics, the Beatles, and the Peter Max years. Here, the originals overpower Brite's march of whimsy.

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Hardback Editions

September 2000 : USA Hardback

Title: Plastic Jesus
Author(s): Poppy Z Brite
ISBN: 1-892284-73-1 / 978-1-892284-73-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

July 2000 : USA Hardback

Title: Plastic Jesus
Author(s): Poppy Z Brite
ISBN: 1-892284-64-2 / 978-1-892284-64-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Subterranean
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Kindle Editions

April 2014 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition

Title: Plastic Jesus
Author(s): Poppy Z Brite
Publisher: Open Road Media
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

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