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10 thoughts on “Dermaphoria

  1. Kol Anderson Kol Anderson says:

    I love this man's writing The words so poetic and the story unfolds like a bad dream and you get the workings of a man who suffers from amnesia and is starting to get his memory back in chunks but you can't be certain if any of those flashes are true Very abstract like Memento meets Breaking Bad

  2. Daniel Daniel says:

    I was going to start this review by comparing Clevenger's writing to that of Chuck Palahniuk and Will Christopher Baer He's got the pace and acerbic plot mind of one and the visceral dizzying prose of the other Then I flipped to the acknowledgements and there on the second paragraph Clevenger thanks them both Well no wonder I thought Fans of either or both Palahniuk and Baer are bound to love DermaphoriaClevenger starts with a classic and almost trite premise a man wakes up in a hospital and the only thing he knows is one name Desiree The man Eric Ashworth sought after by info hungry cops antsy attorneys and dispassionate mobsters attempts to piece together his life bit by bit around that one name using both old fashioned persistence and a new street drug The substance called Skin synthesizes the sense of touch using it to extract reality rich remembrances from an ever expanding history Having memory is just a way of distorting a greater amount of the past says one character The only problem? Skin comes with some pretty serious side effects And further who's to say that the results are 100% accurate?One part mystery one part noir and every bit of it a puzzle of firey arresting prose Dermaphoria is a great book Ashworth's disorientation is made all the palpable by Clevenger's crackling writing Some might find the descriptions over written but I'd say he hasn't written enough This 214 page novel is a uick read ending faster than it takes a firefly to blink Clevenger's descriptions are hefty and mobile apt and stunning and everything is slathered with import even the names themselves Ashworth and Desiree and others are totems for a larger point This book is about than just drug overdoses and regrets and like his contemporaries even so than Palahniuk I'd say Clevenger refuses to dilute his tale with bromides or easy outsHowever even if you don't have the inclination to dig beneath the topsoil of Clevenger's mesmerizing world you can still enjoy the lusciously dirty surface It's a tale that is rewarding on multiple levels superficial or subliminal and although the ending is chaotic and heart breaking Clevenger's male protagonists never seem to catch a break it also proves there's a real heart there to be broken Dark smart gritty and spare Dermaphoria gets under the skin and stays there You should read it and then read it againIn case you forgot anything

  3. Derek Dean Derek Dean says:

    Do you like Breaking Bad?If yes then read this book as it is or less a whole season of breaking bad that was never filmed Perhaps intentionally perhaps unintentionally Despite it being a clear parallel there are certain paragraphs in this book that make you smarter for reading them they make you interesting they are instantly copy and highlighted and you hope to say something similar at some point in your lifeThere are moments in this okay story where the writing is so pure it makes me believe he held onto the thought for years and built and entire story around it And I can't help but sit back and think God DamnYouBecause they are perfect and they are the way lines are supposed to be delivered And I'm jealous and I'm a better writer for having read those paragraphs from this bookThe story itself is good but if I had to read another 200 pages just for those little gold nuggets for me to pick them up dust them off and then show them shining and new to the uninitiated I would read those 200 pages with the same anticipation I have for water slides and cheesecake

  4. Kevin Kevin says:

    Read this book twice now Clevenger has with two slim books become my favorite author most enjoyable creative researched No negatives this book'll knock you on your ass

  5. L.V. Sage L.V. Sage says:

    Just finished reading this book about 20 minutes ago I have read Craig Clevenger's first novel The Contortionist's Handbook as well and enjoyed them both I think that Dermaphoria was even better than Contortionist's though which is a good thing because as a writer you always want to be improvingWhat I most enjoyed about this story were 1 the great sensitivity of the main character; 2 the brilliant concise writing style and 3 Clevenger's mastery of metaphorical writing which I admire greatly He uses this style to its greatest effect better than any writer I have read What makes his metaphors stand out is that they are completely uniue which makes their impact that much greaterI found the story to be interesting as well although a little bit confusing But that is to be somewhat expected with stories that blur the line between reality and the imagination By the book's end I felt that I understood correctly what had occurred but maybe not And maybe that is part of the mastery of this storyI am greatly looking forward to the film version of this book which is currently in production It will be very interesting to see how many of the books ideas visuals whether real or imagined are played out onscreen

  6. Melissa Monster Melissa Monster says:

    To describe Dermaphoria in the simplest pop culture references the story is like Walter White from Breaking Bad starring in a seuel of MementoNow that that’s overAbout a year ago I decided my fiancé and I needed to be better versed on each other’s favorites I wanted to see eat watch and most of all read what she loved I made her a list of all the great experiences of my life from the post modern section of the DIA to Scarlett Thomas’ bewitching novel The End of Mr Y Then I relentlessly uestioned her until I compiled a list of all her favorites At the top of that list was The Contortionist’s Handbook the debut novel of Craig Clevenger The Handbook is the story of John Vincent a master of forgery whose migraine headaches and bad habits have locked him into a vicious circle of illegality Clevenger’s ever uniue narrators grasp you from the first page and don’t let you go until they’re finishedDermaphoria opens with Eric Ashworth waking up in a hospital his body is badly burned and his mind has no memory of how it got that way He has the United States judicial system and the errand boys of a drug kingpin after him for answers In order to spare himself a prison sentence or worse he has to find a way to remember his past Ironically it is the very drug that took Eric’s memory that helps him to bring it back“Write What You Know”Everyone’s heard that troubling phrase of non wisdom It makes the most inventive writers think of themselves with the most bland paranoid thoughts I don’t know enough All I know is how to be a twenty something unemployed Detroiter that likes girls and plays roller derby Those are all the things that I know The problems of “write what you know” stuck with me until my junior year of college when my playwriting teacher answered them saying HELL NO Write what you believe learn what you knowRunning with this one of the reasons Clevenger’s stories are so intriguing is the intricate level of research he completes for each It gives him the ability to create the meticulously detailed thoughts of his characters When you read a Craig Clevenger novel you learn something about the skills of the narrator In the Handbook Vincent describes a practical passion for forgery culminated from years using slight of hand In Dermaphoria Eric Ashworth is a chemist that invents a new drug that synthesizes the sensation of human touch and Clevenger displays knowledge of chemistrypharmacology The audience is pulled through the stories by the uniue voice and knowledge of each narratorRevision of Re VisionsThe book has received lots of negative feedback for its readability Or rather its lack of Dermaphoria literally puts you in the mind of an amnesiac drug addict With each dose of Derma he remembers pairs of invisible hands and with his withdrawal comes an avalanche of tactile reality and paranoia When Eric uestions what is real you realize that you don’t know for yourself what it real You experience his hallucinations his paranoia his flashbacks Clevenger is sitting next to you the whole time experiencing it all with you The only difference is that he’s been here before He’s been living in this world for years In an interview for chuckpalaniuknet Clevenger describes his writing and revision for the novel “I didn't write a complete draft and then re write a series of drafts one after the next Every chapter existed as a separate document up until a couple of weeks before I strung them all together for the press galley Cite” Every structure in the book has been designed to throw the audience into chaos from words to paragraphs to chapters The key is to find the beauty in the chaos I am a great lover of chaosWhen asked about his work for his third novel Clevenger references a short story available on his website titled The Fade He explains that his next novel will be an expansion of this story My book club chose this as our November novel but there were no discussion uestions available Came up with these to guide discussion Thought they might be helpful for other book clubsPossible Discussion uestions 1 Eric wakes up with no memory of his life As the story progresses the audience learns only what Eric’s mind chooses to remember How does this challenge your reading? As you read how are your own opinions colored by this fact?2a Clevenger uses many different motifs to propel his story Which motifs did you find throughout the book? Which of these do you think works best in the story2b Discuss the significance of fire and it’s many occurrences throughout the novel3 Throughout the narrative the name Desiree is associated with many different situations Discuss the many different references Who or what do you believe is the true Desiree4 Discuss Eric’s understanding of God Is Eric attempting to “play God” in his creation of Derma or is he finding a way to become closer to God by altering he mental states of its participants5 In an interview with Chuck Palanuknet Clevenger talks about the use of bugs in the novel “The early versions of the story had Eric recalling part of his youth spent with Pentecostal snake handlers so there was as much narrative devoted to reptile imagery as there was to bugs but I cut those sections out They weren't important to the story so they had to go”Discuss the many ways bugs are used in the story why are these sections so important to the narrative?6 “I didn't write a complete draft and then re write a series of drafts one after the next Every chapter existed as a separate document up until a couple of weeks before I strung them all together for the press galley”How does this writing style complement the narrative? How does it harm the narrative? If you re ordered the chapters in the novel would the overall story still make sense?

  7. Jason Pettus Jason Pettus says:

    The much longer full review can be found at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography cclapcentercomOkay I confess that of all the different types of underground artists out there I have a particular affinity for the weird uiet ones on the edge of every scene who freuently engage in cutting edge experiments just for the sake of engaging in them For example when I was involved with the performance poetry community of the 1990s I tended to spend a lot of time with the people who would drag weird abstract musical instruments on stage with them; who would slip the cadences of formal poetry into their work and then not tell anyone just to see if anyone would notice anyway And even better of course when that artist is uirkily attractive always jittery in a way that could be innocent or guilty depending on what substances they've ingested earlier in the evening I suppose a literal walking example of what many of us think when we hear the phrase Life In The Big CityI just got done with a new book by such an artist in fact the profoundly dense and sometimes outright perplexing dermaphoria by San Franciscan Craig Clevenger whose first novel The Contortionist's Handbook became an accidental sleeper hit in 2003 It is a book along the same vein as Memento Me and Kev The Prestige and others where a dark tale is told in a puzzling manner slowly releasing bits and pieces of information until the entire story is finally revealed by the end; and this is a type of book I love to be honest for the same reason I love hyperfiction and the like although acknowledge as well that it's not everyone's cup of tea And similarly Clevenger wields a personal writing style here that is deliberately over the top self conscious deliberately showy and obtuse; and again you're either going to like it like I did or detest it and have it get in the way of you enjoying the novel whatsoever That's the whole point of being wildly experimental after all; to throw off the shackles of popularity to know in advance that the project will appeal to only a slim amount of people but that they'll be profoundly moved by it instead of a zillion people shrugging their shoulders and going MehMuch like Memento and several other high profile stories that have come out this year

  8. brian brian brian brian says:

    If you want to be disorientated and smitten by good prose then you have to read this I guess it's a crime novel but not in any formulaic way I love the interior workings of the main characters mind when swamped by psychotropic drugs and amnesia poor Eric and the threat of the character Toe Tag Think of this book as a pacy magic carpet ride that deals with the black underbelly of society and just go with it Interesting style of writing that pulls you right under This author is one I'll follow now top class

  9. Logan Person Logan Person says:

    Initially I didn't lile this one as much as tchb but after reading it a second time I fou nd it to be a super fun story Breaking bad meets fear and loathing in LV a little bit of the sound and the fury

  10. Jade Jade says:

    Dermaphoria feels like a fevered abstract nightmare It is gritty wholly paranoid and inescapable Author Craig Clevenger proves himself a master of prose His words conjure an experience rather than a story each returning memory of Ashworth overwhelming the senses like few books can There is no putting it down

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Dermaphoria ➛ Dermaphoria free download ➠ Author Craig Clevenger – Bailed out of jail and holed up in a low rent motel amnesiac Eric Ashworth's only memory is a woman's name Desiree With steadily increasing doses of a strange new hallucinogen Eric finds that the drug Bailed out of jail and holed up in a low rent motel amnesiac Eric Ashworth's only memory is a woman's name Desiree With steadily increasing doses of a strange new hallucinogen Eric finds that the drug allows him to reassemble his past in broken fragments But as he begins to lose touch with the present his distinction between truth and fantasy begins to crumble creating a world where divisions between love and loss violence and tenderness and fact and fiction are less discernible than they ought to be.