Thursday, January 25, 2018

Have You Read Live Nude Girls?


Hope might be a trap. It might be what keeps us all going, but it might destroy you. Or it might just be what gets you on Oprah.

Kevin Postupack wrote this incredible novel ostensibly about a bisexual stripper with an overactive mind and who's maybe too much of an autodidact. She's a voracious reader with ADHD and an extreme imagination. But what the novel's really about is identity.

What's in a name?

Every character in the book has an alias, and you'd think this'd be a little confusing but it isn't. People are able to be two things at once, and rather than make this liminal space off-limits to the reader, Postupack invites you to inhabit it with Daphne and her assassin cat, Noodles. It's easy to do because the narrator is operating under the assumption that we all contain multitudes.

Like Schrödinger's cat, we're alive and dead at the same time, but rather than keep that proverbial box closed, Postupack spends his time ripping the tops off them like Cracker Jack boxes looking for prizes. Sometimes there's a prize, and sometimes you get a dead cat, but the courage to keep opening them is something worth celebrating, and I think Kevin Postupack's novel does that with aplomb.

Live Nude Girls is sexy without being crude, deep without being preachy, and hilarious without being corny. Those are all hard balancing acts.

There's even a Nazi-hunter, a self-declared goddess/restaurateur, and a Cuban strip-club-owner who claims to have prescient visions. The name of the strip club? Pandora's. You can't help but open that one.

Prometheus could see the future, and Epimetheus could see the past. Epimetheus is often called the "foolish brother" but how could he be? Wouldn't an accurate and crystal clear remembrance of the past endow you with great wisdom? Wouldn't you almost be able to predict the future based on the events of the past? After all, that's how statistics work.

Anyway, the box: It was given to Pandora as a dowry after Hephaestus built her with beauty and cunning. But it was Zeus's plan to unleash plagues onto man via her box to take them down a notch. They'd recently been blessed with agriculture and fire. So out of her jar came disease and famine and hard work and all the other evil fates that befall men. . . but only one is mentioned by name. Elpis, hid under the lid, claiming instead to be the only palliative to assuage the plight of man. Elpis means Hope.

But I think Elpis was simply the most clever of the fates, endeavoring to stay close to us in order to inflict the most constant, enduring pain of all.

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