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by Bradley Somer (Nightwood Editions)


“I am the sexiest side of beef in the slaughterhouse of desire.” This is what model Richard Trench tells himself on the runway to pump himself up. Narrating his story as a torso in the trunk of a car, Trench sets the novel up as a sort of grotesque superfan murder mystery. We do find out what happened to the previous mannequin-mold at the end of the book, but we go on one hell of a carnival ride to get there. Trench starts at the beginning, when he won the Little Mister Beef Cattle competition at the country fair, details his discovery as a male model, and takes us on a tour of his self-loathing, mutually abusive relationships and family drama. Suffused with dark wit, sideshow freaks and highbrow fashion humour (plus a very creepy ending), reading this book is like sitting in the front row of Barnum and Bailey Fashion Week.

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