Politics Thirlwell Adam [Text]

By: Thirlwell Adam.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London Jonathan Cape 2003Description: 279p.ISBN: 9780099459026.DDC classification: FIC
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

"In case you had not noticed,' writes Adam Thirlwell in his first novel, Politics, 'in this book I am not interested in anything so small as the history of the USSR. I am not writing anything so limited.' In this epic miniature, therefore, Politics tells the story of three kids in their twenties falling in love with each in London. And, simultaneously, it tells other, smaller stories- of Stalin on the phone, Mao in the bathroom, Osip Mandelstam in another bathroom, Adolf Hitler on all fours, and Milan Kundera in an argument. Politics is not (quite) about politics."

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

Politics A Novel Chapter One The Prologue 1 As moshe tried, gently, to tighten the pink fluffy handcuffs surrounding his girlfriend's wrists, he noticed a tiny frown. I think you are going to like Moshe. His girlfriend's name was Nana. I think you will like her too. 'Pussy!' he said. 'What's wrong?' He was crouching by her neck. She was lying on her stomach. Her arms were stretched, like a diver, above her head. This is what was wrong. Nana's hands were too slender for the handcuffs. That was why she was frowning. There was a logistical problem. And Nana was a girl who cared about logistics. She took her sex seriously. But it was difficult to take sex seriously when, if she wriggled, her hands nearly slipped out. It was not, she explained, ideal. Wriggling was the charm of it. As Nana glanced up, she saw Moshe's dejected face. 'Kitten!' she said. 'What's wrong?' Unfussed, Nana explained that she would just have to act it out. She would have to stay still and mockstruggle. She was sweet to him. It was true, she said wistfully, talking into the duvet, that there had been another plan. She knew she was meant to be trapped, defenceless, while Moshe the tyrant gleefully mimed the loss of both sets of keys to the handcuffs, the real ones and the spares. But the fun was improvisation. I like this couple. They are a do-it-yourself couple, and I like that. Nana had imagined it. She had sketched out a synopsis. Nana would be tied up and then sodomised, ruthlessly. She wanted her powerful man to prove his potency. And -- because they were a couple who tried to be mutual -- Moshe had responded by suggesting a little trip to Sh! , Hoxton's sex boutique with a door policy. A door policy? Yes yes. Men without women were banned. Nervously, in Sh! , Moshe and Nana browsed for four minutes. Sh! smelled of incense. Moshe decided they should leave. Then he reconsidered. If they left, thought Moshe, then it might look like they were not comfortable with sex toys. It would look like they were afraid of sex. I am not sure why Moshe was so worried by this. It was true. Moshe was afraid. He was afraid of sex toys. He was particularly afraid of a twelve-inch dildo, with an extra veined prong for the anus. But he did not want to look scared. He wanted to look indifferent. They bought a petite and smooth leopardskin-print dildo, for him or her, that was now peeping from beneath the bed in its cardboard packet. They bought some rope. Gesturing towards bondage, they bought a black leather bra for Nana. It was three sizes too small. It was like a leather training bra. It flattened her breasts. Doing her best at the role of the submissive, Nana had the breasts of a thirteen-year-old. As for Moshe, his domain was control. So Moshe was the purchaser and practitioner of pink fluffy handcuffs -- or at least he would have been if the catches, the teeth, the locks, whatever, were not too loose for Nana's delicate frame. They were too loose. She had to act it out. Abandoning the handcuffs, Moshe scooped up the length of thin pink bondage rope. He wrapped it in a figure of eight round her quasi-handcuffed hands, then knotted the rope on to the bed frame. He arranged her wrists in a floppy fluorescent cross. In a painful way Nana was comfortable. Which was perfect, she thought. It was just the right feeling. She wanted to make pain a pleasure. Then Moshe spread her buttocks apart. Nana's first reaction was embarrassment. This was quickly followed, however, by glee. Moshe was snuffling in her crack. It had an allure. Doggedly Moshe licked, he lapped at Nana's arsehole. He dabbed his tongue into the darker puckered pock. Maybe I should be more specific here. Nana was a blonde. She was an all-over blonde. I do not want 'darker' to imply dark. No, Nana had a very pale arsehole. It was an albino arsehole. Moshe began to enjoy himself, elongating her pink arsehole as he stretched her buttocks with his hands. It was -- Nana thought, self-conscious, being used -- a new sensation. This, she thought, was Rimming. It was not quite a turn-on but rimming was interesting. It gave her a new shiver. And Nana said, 'Talk to me.' More precisely, in homage to pornography, she drawled, 'Tor tme.' 2 There are many attitudes to talk during sex. There are many varieties of talk during sex. Some individuals like to shout out commands. They will say, 'Suck my cock.' Commands can get quite paradoxical. For instance, sometimes a boy will say, 'Ask if you can suck me' -- which is a command for a request. Or a girl or a boy will say, 'Tell me to suck your cock' -- which is a command for a command. This almost turns the command into a request. Other people want their partner to do the talking. They want to hear guttural and lavish obscenities. This is especially exciting when a person suspects that his or her partner is repressed. On the other hand, there are people for whom talk is just reassuring. In fact, sometimes they do not even need talk to get the reassurance they want. Noise is quite enough. For these people, noise during sex is a version of talk. The other extreme, I suppose, involves some degree of reality shift or role play. A lot of people like to be someone else during sex. A lot of people like to imagine that someone else is someone else during sex. And Nana, today, was a fantasist. She wanted a narrative. She wanted a role play. Normally, however, Nana disdained all talk during sex. Even a whisper annoyed her. But just now, in a flat in the scuzzier part of Finsbury ... Politics A Novel . Copyright © by Adam Thirlwell. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Politics by Adam Thirlwell All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

That's sexual politics. One of Granta's 20 Best Novelists Under 40, Thirlwell introduces a m?nage ? trois involving a father and daughter, with references to everything from Kundera and Mandelstam to fluffy pink handcuffs. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

In this nervy, self-conscious debut novel, British writer Thirlwell airs the unspoken anxieties and confusions of two lovers, crafting a talky deconstruction of a relationship. Moshe is a character actor, "the sketchy one, the sardonic one, the oddball cool"; Nana is an architecture student, "tall, thin, pale, blonde, breasty." It is the off-stage narrator, however, who is the book's most notable presence, with his countless digressions, "simple" theories, lengthy explanations and bossy directives. Despite his repeated assertions that the book is not about sex ("sex isn't everything"; "sometimes I think that this book is an attack on sex"), Moshe and Nana are constantly experimenting ("oral sex, use of alternative personae, lesbianism, undinism"), though their experiments usually end in failure. This is true of their biggest experiment, a three-way affair involving Anjali, an Anglo-Indian actor friend of Moshe's. Reading Thirlwell's novel is similar to watching a film with the director in the room, guiding the viewer through every scene. While many of the resulting narrative flourishes are clever or endearing, their humor and intellectual cachet wear thin as the ratio of window dressing to substance tips heavily in favor of the former. Still, Thirlwell's brave attempt to debunk the primacy of sex (while elaborately describing his characters' hapless pursuit of it) is surprisingly convincing. (Oct. 1) Forecast: Thirlwell was chosen this year as one of Granta's best British novelists under 40 (born in 1978, he is the youngest yet). His deadpan blend of irony and earnestness should particularly appeal to readers of Dave Eggers and George Saunders. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus Book Review

A mÉnage à trois in contemporary London. The youngest author ever to be named one of Granta's Best Young British Writers (the "20 Under 40" list), Thirwell (a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford) is an aspiring master of the vapid postmodern nihilism that is still the reigning literary fashion among academics on both sides of the Atlantic. He introduces us to three young Londoners who come together in an elliptical and polymorphic boy-meets-girl tale that bears more in common with Milan Kundera than Henry Miller, although it is a good deal more pretentious than both combined. Moshe, a young Jewish actor, meets Nana, a spoiled young suburbanite, at a performance of Oscar Wilde's Vera; Moshe had a role in the play, while Nana was brought along by her father (who's on the board of the theater). Nana also meets Anjali, an Indian actress and friend of Moshe's, on the same evening. The rest is simple. Our omniscient narrator guides us through the development of the relations between the three friends ("The next event in the story is a blow job"), which are volatile, predictable, and nicely summed up in the chapter headings ("Romance," "Intrigue," "They fall in love," "They fall out of love," etc.), yet his abiding passions seem better expressed in a Tristram Shandy-ish series of digressions on subjects ranging from Bauhaus design to Mikhail Bulgakov and the sex lives of Adolph Hitler and Chairman Mao. These ramblings, it must be said, are more interesting than the depictions of Anjali fisting Nana or Moshe's fantasies of shooting heroin with the Queen Mother, though they seem to have no point than as diversions from the story itself--which has very little point of its own. Undergraduate ravings of this sort should be inflicted only on hapless editors or professors of creative writing. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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