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69 Things To Do With A Dead Princess


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About the Author

Stewart Home was born in south London in 1962. When he was sixteen he held down a factory job for six months, an experience that led him to vow he'd never work again. After dabbling in rock journalism and music, in the 80s Home switched his attention to the art world, and now writes novels as well as cultural commentary.


British experimental novelist and cultural critic Home (Cunt) makes his American debut with his trademark fusion of highbrow theory and pulp pornography. Narrator Anna Noon is a randy 20-year-old living in Aberdeen, Scotland, having an affair with a mysterious older man named Alan, as well as the occasional threesome and foursome. Alan is obsessed with a cult book called 69 Things to Do with a Dead Princess, whose author claims that he was hired to secretly dispose of Princess Di's body by dragging it around Aberdeen's ancient stone circles until it decomposed. Alan tries to test the author's story by dragging a carefully weighted ventriloquist's dummy around the stone circles. In between these experiments and orgies, Alan and Anna discuss postmodern literature. Alan offers a running commentary on novelists and theorists like Kathy Acker, Francis Fukuyama and Donna Haraway, tracing the evolution of experimental writing in the postwar era and weighing in with his own critiques ("Alan didn't like [Paul] Johnson's Intellectuals.... Rather than developing an argument, Johnson simply reiterated his irrational prejudice against critical thinking in a series of poorly schematised chapters"). The contrast between these erudite lectures and the sex scenes, which Home writes in the coarse argot of porn novels-complete with dozens of colorful synonyms for the relevant anatomy-is amusing, though the joke wears thin after a while. There are bursts of vivid descriptive prose, as well as moments of demented humor (including the ventriloquist dummy's hilarious turn as narrator). Both the sex scenes and the arch commentary are occasionally tedious, but fans of Acker or Robert Coover may enjoy the metafictional conceit. (Jan.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

* What a strange and marvelous novel. The Times * I really don't think anyone who is at all interested in the study of literature has any business not knowing the work of Stewart Home. London Review of Books * The stuff of which cults are made. Time Out * Stewart Home is one of our most important and interesting novelists. His work has been termed 'avant-guard', but it is much more ambitious than that, as honest as it is unique. This novel will confuse and amuse an leave you wondering what it was all about, and then it will draw you back to the beginning to try to find out. The more twisted and unreal his writing, the more confusing and contradictory his opinions, the more in touch with reality Home seems to become. -- John King New Statesman

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