Dennis Cooper: Try
Simultaneously deadpan and queasily raw, ‘Try’ is the story of Ziggy, the adopted teenaged son of two sexually abusive fathers whose failed experiment at nuclear-family domesticity has left him stranded with one and increasingly present in the fantasies of the other.” He turns from both of these men to his uncle, who sells pornographic videos on the black market, and to his best friend, a junkie whose own vulnerability inspires in Ziggy a fierce and awkward devotion.
Terminally insecure and yet inured to sexual brutality, Ziggy questions his two fathers, his uncle, his drug dealer, his friends, and himself in an attempt to isolate and define the vagaries and boundaries of sexuality, attraction, and abuse, compiling their responses into a magazine that he calls ‘I Apologize.’
In prose that is taut, rhythmic, charged, chillingly precise, and beautifully controlled, Cooper examines his characters’ motivations not as the product of cultural coercion but as the emanations of something hungry and amoral and essentially human. ‘Try’ explores “that buried need to go all the way and really possess someone,” that place where desire disintegrates into the irrational. He illuminates with utter clarity the need to claim the desirable, to possess wholly something that will fulfill the profound emptiness of the human soul.
With ‘Try’, Cooper has produced a novel even more complex than his previous books, dangerously innovative and with the startling familiarity of truth in its examination of love, obsession, devotion, and the depths of human need