Janice Eidus The Celibacy Club

ISBN 13: 9780872863224

The Celibacy Club

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9780872863224: The Celibacy Club

In "Gypsy Lore," one of 19 stories in Janice Eidus's new collection, The Celibacy Club, 15-year-old Anna asks a fortune teller about sex. "He comes in, he goes out. He comes in, he goes out. That's all," the gypsy replies. The gypsy's evident ennui about sex might apply just as easily to this collection itself, in which a lot happens but nothing much matters. In the title story, Nancy joins a celibacy club where everyone talks about why they're not having sex. Then she has sex with one of the club members, quits the club and buys a condo in the Bronx. In "Making Love, Making Movies" screenwriter Jeff inexplicably starts cheating on his wife of ten years, an actress obsessed with Sigourney Weaver. During each affair he casts himself as a different Hollywood actor, while each encounter becomes a scenario for yet another trite film cliché in his hackneyed mind.

Ms. Eidus's tales are often amusing, but she tends to substitute pop culture references for character development, and high concept ideas, i.e., a Barbie doll goes to group therapy, for theme. Still, readers who enjoy this type of ultra-hip urban story-telling may well find The Celibacy Club entertaining reading.

"Balancing humor and depth, the 19 short stories in this collection reflect the quirky voice, at once cynical and sincere, that has made Eidus a two-time winner of the O. Henry Award. In their funniest moments, Eidus's stories have serious subtexts of isolation, addiction, abuse and despair." ―Publishers Weekly

"Janice Eidus is more entertaining than the Marquis de Sade in a dress. Her juxtaposition of emotion-from the brazenly wicked to the ardently tender- will leave the reader breathless. The Celibacy Club is definitely a club you will want to join." ―Lucinda Ebersole and Richard Peabody, co-editors of Mondo Barbie"Eidus' powerful stories about men and women waging silent was against the culture have the eerie effect of waking us up even though we didn't know we were sleeping." ―Hal Sirowitz, Author of Mother Said

Janice Eidus, winner of two O. Henry Prizes, is the author of a novel Faithful Rebecca, and the short story collections Vito Loves Geraldine, and The Celibacy Club. She lives in New York City.

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From the Back Cover:

This vibrant new collection of nineteen short stories by the two-time winner of the prestigious O. Henry Prize is by turns erotic, wildly funny, bawdy, and poignant. Eidus explores our contemporary obsessions: sex - both safe and not-so-safe; Prozac, the '90s drug of choice; Nautilus machine mania; the sinister attraction of vampires; film star James Dean; and rock 'n' roll icons Axl Rose and Elvis - all with dazzling range.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Most of the 19 stories here have been published in small magazines, and a number anthologized. This isn't surprising: Eidus's tales (Vito Loves Geraldine, 1990, etc.) often seem either written to order or just not weighty enough for more mainstream venues. The author's jokier tales poke fun at familiar targets: the therapeutic culture; health clubs; and the shallowness of Hollywood. Eidus also mocks our obsession with celebrity in a series of pieces about pop icons: In ``Elvis, Axl, and Me,'' a former mental patient discovers Elvis alive and well, living in the Bronx as an Hasidic Jew; in ``Barbie Goes to Group Therapy,'' a group of whiny women seek revenge on the doll they blame for their unhappiness; and in ``Jimmy Dean: My Kind of Guy,'' the narrator sleeps with the dreamy actor who's still alive and writing a play at an artists' colony. False hope, the loss of innocence, and nostalgia for a lost childhood all figure into other stories such as ``The Mermaid of Orchard Beach,'' in which a Bronx girl discovers her ability to create her own reality and to fashion happiness from ``what was really so very little.'' Similarly, a woman who believed in the power of goodness as a child can't understand why her mean and nasty sister (and not she) has achieved wealth and happiness as an adult (``The Princess of Lake Forest''). The least successful stories take themselves far too seriously and are written with a sledgehammer sensibility: a portrait of a phone- sex worker and her childhood history of sexual abuse (``Pandora's Box''); ``Ladies with Long Hair,'' about a group of women who refuse to cut their hair in solidarity with those dying from AIDS; and a disposable bit of advocacy on condom use (``Aunt Lulu, the Condom Lady''). A few self-reflexive pieces about writers add nothing to an altogether artless second collection. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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