Nude Men: A Novel by Amanda Filipacchi

Nude Men: A Novel by Amanda Filipacchi

Welcome to my review for Amanda Filipacchi’s novel, Nude Men – and don’t forget to enter my giveaway where one lucky winner will get eBook copies of Love CreepsNude Men and Vapor.

Book Review

The first of this author’s books, and undoubtedly the most difficult in terms of premise and characters, this black comedy is certainly not for everyone, and seems to skewer Lolita with a disturbing  May – December relationship that is only the starting point for characters that will either alienate or disturb readers.

An eleven year old girl sets out (and succeeds) in seducing a 29 year old post-grad writing student with low self-esteem and other issues that feed his need for validation by this child. Add in the girl’s mother, black and white photography, train of thought passages that lead to nowhere at first, and what I have come to see as the author’s trademark skewering of every ‘politically correct’ belief in ‘normal’ society and behavior and you get this book.  While it isn’t as polished as her later works, the overall story is entertaining, if in a way that had me guilty for laughing at some of the ridiculous situations and beliefs the characters held. 

Most decidedly this is not the book for everyone: Filipacci’s writing style is deft with clever word play and a Dali-esque view of the world where everything is just a bit ‘off’.  The subject matter is no more outrageous than Nabokov, but her treatment with the overlay of black humor and pointed satire will put off readers that are unable to lose themselves in the unique approach and conclusion that she puts forward.

Nude Men: A Novel by Amanda Filipacchi

Title: Nude Men
Author: Amanda Filipacchi
Genre: Dark-theme, Literary Fiction, Literary FIction /Transgressive
Published by: Open Road Integrated Media
Format:eBook
Pages: 304
Rated: three-half-stars
Get Your Copy: Amazon iTunes Downpour
See this Title on Goodreads

Rarely has a first novel generated so much excitement, here and abroad, as Amanda Filipacchi's utterly beguiling Nude Men. The story is told by Jeremy Acidophilus, "a man without many pleasures in life, a man whose few pleasures are small, but a man whose small pleasures are very important to him." Jeremy is twenty-nine, and his life is going nowhere. Until he meets a beautiful woman in a coffee shop. Lady Henrietta (she takes her name from Oscar Wilde's Lord Henry) paints nude men, some for art's sake, some for the pages of Playgirl. She wants Jeremy to pose for her and, naturally, he thinks he is falling in love with her. But it is Henrietta's precocious, voluptuous eleven-year-old daughter who seduces Jeremy - in a scene of startling imagination and uncanny charm. In this mesmerizing, uniquely witty novel, Filipacchi explores sexual mores with uninhibited freshness and originality, shaking our allegiance to conventional moral codes. Half French, half American, she has created a story that seems both guileless and sophisticated, and the pleasure one takes in it is accompanied by a touch of guilt. Despite that, or because of it, the pleasure is glorious.

A copy of this title was provided via for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 18 years of age due to drug and alcohol use / violence and/or sexual content in a genre not specified as Erotic.

Excerpt

I am a man without many pleasures in life, a man whose few pleasures aresmall, but a man whose small pleasures are very important to him. One ofthem is eating. One reading. Another reading while eating.I work at Screen, a magazine on movies and celebrities, here inManhattan. For lunch I go to a little coffee shop that is farther away thanthe other standard lunch places. It is also more expensive, less good, andless exciting, but it has one tremendous advantage. No one I know goesRecently I discovered another coffee shop. It is even farther away,

but the lighting is better for my reading. And no one I know goes there

even less. Or more. Or whatever. You know what I mean.

This morning was exhausting at work. I sense that I will get one of

my headaches this afternoon. I am hungry for food and literature. As I

leave the office building for lunch, I try to decide if I have the strength to

walk the extra distance to my new, well-lit coffee shop or if I will settle

for the closer one with inferior lighting. I opt for light. After such a

morning, I deserve to have a perfect, intensely pleasurable meal. On top of

it, I want to see very clearly what will happen to Lily Bart in The House of

The restaurant is called Grandma Julie’s, and it’s as cozy as its

name. I’m sure everyone feels a little embarrassed walking into a place

called Grandma anything, but once you’re inside … the warmth, the

neatness, the sheer professionalism, make you forget your shame.

Today the place is full. I ask the waitress how long it will take to

get a table. She says two minutes. I wait, thinking my lunch might not be

ruined if I truly get a table in two minutes. A woman enters the coffee

Amanda Filipacchi NUDE MEN

shop and waits in line behind me. She’s in her late thirties and looks

perfectly nice, normal. Two minutes later, the waitress tells me there’s a

The woman behind me touches me and asks, “Are you alone?”

“Yes,” I say.

“Would you mind if we shared the table?”

I visualize my lunch spent sitting in front of a stranger. It would be

hell. Her eyes would be resting on me while I read. She might even want

to talk: “What are you reading? Do you work around here? It’s unusually

cold today, but they say it’ll get warmer by evening. There’s so much

noise in this place. I asked for tuna salad, not egg salad. I can’t eat this, I

have high cholesterol.”

My first impulse is to mumble, “It doesn’t matter,” and rush out

the door to my old coffee shop.

What I do answer, very distinctly, but with a slight grimace to

soften the blow, is “I’d rather not.”

“The woman and the waitress stare at me with more surprise than I

expected. I try to think of a justification for my response and come up with

“I … have to eat alone. But you go ahead if you want.” I gesture toward

the empty table.

“No, no, you go ahead,” she says, touching my arm with more

familiarity than I like.

I sit down, making sure my back is turned to the woman I have just

rejected so that she won’t be able to observe me. She has ruined my lunch.

Even though I’m alone, I won’t be able to concentrate on my novel

because I feel like a villain. I have never done anything like this before in

my life. I eat my grilled cheese sandwich, unable to read, furious, not

making eye contact with anyone. How dare the woman do that! I order

Jell-O to cheer me up.

Amanda Filipacchi NUDE MEN

I glance furtively at the customers around the room. I’m curious to

know where the woman ended up. I look at the people seated at the

counter. They all have their backs to me except for one, at the end. She is

turned in my direction, her legs are crossed, her elbow is resting on the

counter, and she is looking at me fixedly, with a slight smile. At first I

think she is my rejected woman, but when I look again I see that she

clearly is not. This woman is beautiful, sexy, late twenties. She has a very

thick upper lip, which gives her a pouting, capricious look, an air I simply

adore in women. Like the actress Isabelle Adjani, my fantasy woman.

She seems like the feminine type, the romantic type, the Sleeping

Beauty type, blond hair, the type my girlfriend would perversely say looks

jaded because she happens to have a charming face and laugh lines on

either side of her mouth.

I am not absolutely certain that she is looking at me. I don’t have

terrifically good eyesight, so although I was able to notice her plump

upper lip, I might be mistaken as to where her pupils are directed. She

could be staring out the window next to which I am sitting. Or she could

be looking at the businessman at the table in front of me, or at the

secretary behind me.

I decide to take a risk anyway. I don’t know why. It’s not like me.

Perhaps because after having bluntly rejected a woman for the first time in

my life, I need to bluntly accept one too. I gather every ounce of courage

in my body and smile at her, sort of unconsciously sticking out my upper

lip so we have something in common.

 

Giveaway

About Amanda Filipacchi

Amanda Filipacchi is an American writer best known for her humorous, inventive, and controversial novels.

Filipacchi was born in Paris, France, was educated in France and the U.S., and holds both U.S. and French citizenship. She has been living in New York, United States since the age of 17.

Her fiction has been translated into 13 languages and has received critical acclaim in the U.S. and around the world.

AMANDA FILIPACCHI has been described by the New York Times Book Review as a “lovely comic surrealist.” Her books have been translated into 13 languages and her non-fiction has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Atlantic. Her novels have been called “hilarious and thought-provoking” by Tama Janowitz and “whimsical and subversive” by Edmund White. Filipacchi earned her MFA in fiction writing from Columbia University.

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