I Look Divine

I Look Divine Like Dorian Gray the exquisite Nicholas limned in this sleek and troubling novella may become a cult figure The self absorbed narcissistic young man feels he has been exceptional from the moment of

Like Dorian Gray, the exquisite Nicholas limned in this sleek and troubling novella may become a cult figure The self absorbed, narcissistic young man feels he has been exceptional from the moment of his birth by Caesarian section he was thus unmarked and perfect than other babies There is no such thing as perfect, corrects his mother Of course there is, Like Dorian Gray, the exquisite Nicholas limned in this sleek and troubling novella may become a cult figure The self absorbed, narcissistic young man feels he has been exceptional from the moment of his birth by Caesarian section he was thus unmarked and perfect than other babies There is no such thing as perfect, corrects his mother Of course there is, says Nicholas To avoid unsightly lines, he never smiles when photographed to avoid even a trace of fat, he eats little the obi of the kimono in which he often poses winds twice around his waist The men he fancies bestow upon him rare enamels, ivory carvings, jewels because, he explains with apparent guilelessness to his older brother, who narrates the novel, it pleases them to do so But ointments and finery are helpless against the years At 30 Nicholas the odalisque begins to resemble a tart at 37 he is dead His brother, summoned by Nicholas s landlady to collect the lapsed body and now scarred valuables, looks back fondly, objectively and suggestively upon a life no longer valid once physical beauty is flawed Sensual, mocking and deadly serious, this first novel casts a long shadow.

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I Look Divine

  1. Christopher Coe was born in Pennsylvania in 1953 and raised in Portland, Oregon As an adult he lived in both New York City and Paris.As well as a writer, Coe also worked as a photographer and cabaret singer His first novel, I Look Divine, was published in 1987, his second, Such Times, in 1993.Coe died of AIDS on 6 September 1994 at his home in Manhattan.

836 Reply to “I Look Divine”

  1. Sometimes, when I am in a rut for reading material, I try to find a slim novel that helps purge my brain That s not to say that I look for fluff this exercise merely allows me to read a novel quickly, not spend too much time with the story or the characters Admittedly, most of these types of novels have been of the science fiction variety Few have been literary So, the other night I was in one of these funks I knew I was about to embark upon a reading experience with John Updike so my mind kept [...]


  2. Bitchy, funny, and coldly precise the narrator looks back over the life of his dead murdered younger brother, who built his life around being feted for his beauty Call it a kind of Dorian Gray adjunct, and a cautionary tale about the cruelty of beauty and entitlement And it does have deliciously wicked lines When the narrator berates his teenaged brother for accepting gifts from older men,his brother dismisses the criticism by saying, My dear, there is a difference between trade and tribute Perf [...]


  3. It takes a lot of skill to write a book with an unlikeable character that people still want to read Austen did it with Emma and Bret Easton Ellis American Psycho also comes to mind Nicholas who won t be in photos and controls manipulates all aspects of his image compulsively is not quite in the same league This combined with a very tired brother with the flashback structure make for a trying, if brief read This book contains way too much pointless jet setting and foreign culture references Asia [...]


  4. At our local library there are quick choice shelves, not just once happened for me to find little gems there This is just one of them, a slim and fast to read novel yet your gears are constantly moving throughout all the 100 and a bit of pages.We are presented with the portrait of Nicholas sketched by his brother The flow of memories that contour Nicholas for us is rooted in grief and kept going by a picture, a life size picture of Nicholas in a Japanese robe in front of a wall of skulls found i [...]


  5. I Look Divine is Christopher Coe s first novel and is written in a terrifying and seductive prose It is about a man who recalls his adventures together with his brother, Nicholas Nicholas is a vain, clever, poetic, wealthy and extravagant who poses and flirts in the stylish bars throughout the world His brother the narrator becomes his witness and victim enchanted and repelled by Nicholas antics There is nothing shocking and terrifying that happen in the novel but the author s narratives makes m [...]


  6. A short yet near masterful and timeless character study of a beautiful and clever creature Nicholas destined and doomed from birth to soar near heaven for as long as good looks and witty banter and divine confidence can carry him Told from his brother s perspective, the story also captures the intense and unspoken relationship between such a force and those travelling within close orbit Coe deftly uses an economy of language to vividly paint the pain and pleasure which comes from striding throug [...]


  7. It reminded me a little bit of RAVELSTEIN in that a straight man narrates the story of a larger than life gay man with whom he is fascinated Also like Bellow s novel, this book is brief, intense, and beautifully written Ravelstein was Bellow s last novel, I believe, and I Look Divine was Coe s firsteven so, the writing is breathtakingly confident I really enjoyed reading it.


  8. I never realized that this book would be lost so soon Nor did I know that it is supposed to be homoerotic novel while reading I Look Divine by Christopher Coe is so much than to be boxed in by categories A hidden gem of a book that is well worth the trouble of finding a used copy A great tale of one man s obsession with himself through his loving brother s eyes.Edit I think the book has come back into print since my original review Lucky for everyone.




  9. More a character study than a novel, I Look Divine is like taking a whirlwind vacation with that guy you met during a free wine tasting At first the detail rich luxuries of the protagonist Nicholas feel exotic and lush and the narrator piles them high like so many Egyptian cotton towels But after a few days trapped in a hotel with this guy, listening to his stories over and over again, and the magic and the mystery wear thin.Coe does an excellent job framing and then fleshing out Nicholas as a f [...]


  10. A desultory lifeexcept for mirror imagesDavid Leavitt, a brilliant author himself, wrote the Introduction to this wondrously touching little book by Christopher Coe, and in many ways his introductory remarks are equal to the novel Leavitt probes the life and influence and style of Coe and manages to relate moments from this brief at times rambling, almost disconnected story bringing clarity to the reader about to embark on the too brief journey of I LOOK DIVINE.A word about Christopher Coe born [...]


  11. This is a brief novel You will pick it up after lunch and be done with it long before dinner It is the story of a man Nicholas, told by an older brother, whom you will not like but whom you should know of anyway.Coe is perfect, the novella is perfect There is hardly anything here de trop, as Nicholas would say one year, anyway He and his brother, free of any need to work apparently, travel from one jaded world place to another the usual circuit, i.e Paris, Rome, Mexico, but everyplace is the sam [...]


  12. I found this slim volume by chance and picked it up as an afterthought when I spent an afternoon outside of New Haven in a giant book barn with about 2 million books I m not quite sure what to make of the story itself but I found it so sad and beautiful Coe wrote two books before he died in 1994 at age 41 from AIDS related complications As I read this hard cover first edition with a very tight binding, I couldn t help but think of this clearly unread copy, discovered like a needle in a haystack, [...]


  13. What I liked most about this was the way the book reflects the main character s life We start with an admiring portrait of the beautiful but dead Nicholas by his ordinary brother It s all lush descriptions, exotic locations and objets d art As the novella wears on, Nicholas becomes less and less attractive, not just physically as he ages, but as a character too It s as if the book is proving him right his beauty is all that matters about him Sad, but some guys do act as if this is true when you [...]


  14. I Look Divine 1987 by Christopher Coe is about a brother searching and lamenting over his brother Nicholas past The novel which explores family love and homosexuality carries itself through its sweet and swift prose, dabbing in small details that flesh out dear Nicholas that leaves me loving him than hating him Because, you will hate him.


  15. A quiet book clear, concise and subtle The narrator s voice is so removed that the spareness is less a matter of evocation than of fact Yet how well he establishes the passage of time and how natural his artifice in establishing the parent s fate the whole book turns on the narrator s dispassionate remembrances of his dissipating brother, the beauty, money and brains squandered.


  16. Odd little novella about an unbelievably narcissistic man and where that took him, seen through the eyes of his less favored brother, who seems to accept everything that happens without questioning it Well written and strangely believable.


  17. A perfect soft story of a homosexual man who is confident about his life and the direction I was struggling to find this book only libraries , after three years I have finally found it in a small Prague antiquarian.It is a pleasant reading Something different than you d expect.




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