A Novel

Book - 2016
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A new world opens up to Sam when, fresh from a breakup, he discovers a XXX peepshow on the outskirts of town. More than a mere venue for closeted men to meet for anonymous sex, it's an underground subculture populated by regular players, and marked by innumerable coded rules and customs. A welcome diversion from his dead-end job and the compulsive cyberstalking of the cop who broke his heart, Sam returns to the arcade again and again. When the bizarre setting triggers reflections on his own history and theories, he contemplates his anxious, religious upbringing in small-town Texas, the frightening overlap between horror movies and his love life, and the false expectations created by multiple childhood viewings of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Then, of course, there is the subject of sex. As his connection to the place strengthens, and his actions both outside and within the peepshow escalate, Sam wavers between dismissing the arcade as a frivolous pastime and accepting it as the most meaningful place in his life. Arcade is a relentlessly candid and graphic account of one man's attempt to square immutable desire with a carefully constructed self-image on the brink.
Publisher: Los Angeles, CA : The Unnamed Press, 2016.
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781939419729
Branch Call Number: FIC SMITH, DREW
Characteristics: 249 pages ; 22 cm


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Jan 19, 2017

I have a confession to make here. Years ago, when I was a younger man, I too patronized the same type of triple-X rated video stores described by Smith in his novel Arcade. I did find the novel somewhat repetitive, describing the store layout or the sexual activities over and over, and the narrator's seeming obsession with a former boyfriend seems...creepy or stalker-ish. But all those descriptions, from store layout to the patrons to the little mores or codes of behavior that developed to the behavior of the store clerks is spot on and well done. Not for all tastes: If frank discussions of porn or sexuality offends you, pass on this novel. A good novel to read along with Gay Guy's Guide to Life type books, or if you like the essays of Michael Thomas Ford.


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