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Imperfections

by Bradley Somer (Nightwood Editions)

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“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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