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Flesh [Hardcover]

David Galef
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Permanent Press (NY) (1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1877946559
  • ISBN-13: 978-1877946554
  • Product Dimensions: 22.3 x 14.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,072,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A "fetish" that dares not speak its name 4 May 1997
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
A young married professor comes to a small
Southern university town and befriends
a colleague, whose interests include heavy doses
of bicycling. Soon, however, our protagonist notices
that his friend is attracted to a certain kind of woman--
the heavy kind! As the young professor voyeuristically
watches his friend move from relationship to
relationship, he begins to question his own rather
mundane existence, and by the end of the novel
he has become obsessed with his friend's lifestyle.

I am a lover of BBW (Big Beautiful Women) myself,
so I was instantly attracted to the subject matter.
Although the climax of the story is somewhat troubling
(suffice it to say that it appears the author "punishes"
the colleague for his tastes), I thought the treatment of
larger women as objects of desire was otherwise fair.

As more and more women rightly rebel against
America's renewed "corset culture" (i.e., one that
demands that women be ever slimmer, to the point of
ceasing to menstruate), I am happy to see at least one
work of professional fiction that celebrates fleshy
womanly beauty. Perhaps "Flesh" will bring even more
FAs (Fat Admirers) out of the closet than are currently
emerging on the internet, no longer afraid to confess to
the fetish that dares not speak its name.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I read FLESH in less than a week. It is a wonderful book the flows like a conversation. It is filled with accurate descriptions of academia,
descents into voyeruism and other fetishes, and
wonderful words (keep a dictionary handy-this book is a vocabulary builder). You follow the narrator's story without pause, waiting for the questions he brings up to be answered. You're on the edge waiting for answers until the last ten pages of the novel, but when the story ends you're still intrigued waiting for more definite answers. It is intelligent erotica with great "Fish out of water" descriptons. Read it despite the ending.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Launch of the FA novel 12 Feb 2011
Format:Hardcover
Flesh tells the story of Don's fascination with Max. But the heart of the
matter is what fascinates Max. They inhabit a world of academia, in a sense 'anycampus, USA', although actually set in the venerable halls of Ole Miss, USA. Don is something of an outsider, originating in New York, but the real outsider is Max. We are taken on a whistle stop tour of the dramatis personae of the campus and the town, a bit of voyeurism into their features and foibles, but the keenest quarry of our looking in is Max, right down to Don's peephole into his apartment.

So what is it about Max?? Well, a little like this preamble, following the
explicitly up front announcement of the title, we are only slowly and
gradually ushered through to the centre stage - that Max is an FA and his
attention is on big women. So what's an FA? Certainly the phrase doesn't
appear in the book. A for Admirer is the more general currency. Could be
Adorer...maybe Appreciater is best. No matter - the etymology and the
literal rendition is already unimportant; it's shorthand for men with a
taste, in the words of that FA blues, for Big Legged Women.

Flesh is a pacy, piquant and perky novel. Witty and entertaining. Its
vignettes of 'scripted' conversation and 'screenplay' action at the several
cocktail type agglomerations of the characters which pepper the book
sometimes verge on the hilarious and appear, here at any rate, as a forte of the author. But this is the stuff of many a novel and even many a good one - but not for this is the book remarkable, No, it is for its contribution to the
genre, indeed for its launching of the genre that FAs will be interested in it,
and perhaps celebrating it. After all - they (you?
Read more ›
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Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars A BRILLIANT NOVEL, VIVID AND ENGAGING 1 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
A crisp, lively story with interesting characters and fascinating psychological turns. The satire of academe is delicious. Max's diary, revealed toward the end of the novel, is a gem worth waiting for. I liked this book a lot. Galef is both funny and profound.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A "fetish" that dares not speak its name 4 May 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A young married professor comes to a small
Southern university town and befriends
a colleague, whose interests include heavy doses
of bicycling. Soon, however, our protagonist notices
that his friend is attracted to a certain kind of woman--
the heavy kind! As the young professor voyeuristically
watches his friend move from relationship to
relationship, he begins to question his own rather
mundane existence, and by the end of the novel
he has become obsessed with his friend's lifestyle.

I am a lover of BBW (Big Beautiful Women) myself,
so I was instantly attracted to the subject matter.
Although the climax of the story is somewhat troubling
(suffice it to say that it appears the author "punishes"
the colleague for his tastes), I thought the treatment of
larger women as objects of desire was otherwise fair.

As more and more women rightly rebel against
America's renewed "corset culture" (i.e., one that
demands that women be ever slimmer, to the point of
ceasing to menstruate), I am happy to see at least one
work of professional fiction that celebrates fleshy
womanly beauty. Perhaps "Flesh" will bring even more
FAs (Fat Admirers) out of the closet than are currently
emerging on the internet, no longer afraid to confess to
the fetish that dares not speak its name
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Fat Bottomed Girl, You Make the Rockin' World Go Round" 1 April 2007
By Cliff Burns - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
David Galef has a keen sense of humor--FLESH exhibits his observational skills and knack for creating fully fleshed (!) characters, damned and redeemed by their flaws and innate humanity. Anti-fat bias? I read this novel from cover to cover and back again and could find no such thing. It is a book about fetishists and bent desires and is written with such obvious affection toward its subjects that anyone looking for an ax to grind had better check another tool shed. FLESH is achingly funny and its rather jaundiced depiction of academia reminds me of a terrific Richard Russo offering I read some years back. An erotic and knowing novel by a writer who has only gotten better over the years. Check out his new book HOW TO COPE WITH SUBURBAN STRESS and you'll see what I mean. A courageous and literate author.
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent and Intriguing Erotica that Leaves Your Hanging 10 Jun 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I read FLESH in less than a week. It is a wonderful book the flows like a conversation. It is filled with accurate descriptions of academia,
descents into voyeruism and other fetishes, and
wonderful words (keep a dictionary handy-this book is a vocabulary builder). You follow the narrator's story without pause, waiting for the questions he brings up to be answered. You're on the edge waiting for answers until the last ten pages of the novel, but when the story ends you're still intrigued waiting for more definite answers. It is intelligent erotica with great "Fish out of water" descriptons. Read it despite the ending.
5.0 out of 5 stars Launch of the FA novel 12 Feb 2011
By R. Altman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Flesh tells the story of Don's fascination with Max. But the heart of the
matter is what fascinates Max. They inhabit a world of academia, in a sense 'anycampus, USA', although actually set in the venerable halls of Ole Miss, USA. Don is something of an outsider, originating in New York, but the real outsider is Max. We are taken on a whistle stop tour of the dramatis personae of the campus and the town, a bit of voyeurism into their features and foibles, but the keenest quarry of our looking in is Max, right down to Don's peephole into his apartment.

So what is it about Max?? Well, a little like this preamble, following the
explicitly up front announcement of the title, we are only slowly and
gradually ushered through to the centre stage - that Max is an FA and his
attention is on big women. So what's an FA? Certainly the phrase doesn't
appear in the book. A for Admirer is the more general currency. Could be
Adorer...maybe Appreciater is best. No matter - the etymology and the
literal rendition is already unimportant; it's shorthand for men with a
taste, in the words of that FA blues, for Big Legged Women.

Flesh is a pacy, piquant and perky novel. Witty and entertaining. Its
vignettes of 'scripted' conversation and 'screenplay' action at the several
cocktail type agglomerations of the characters which pepper the book
sometimes verge on the hilarious and appear, here at any rate, as a forte of the author. But this is the stuff of many a novel and even many a good one - but not for this is the book remarkable, No, it is for its contribution to the
genre, indeed for its launching of the genre that FAs will be interested in it,
and perhaps celebrating it. After all - they (you?) may have read the pieces in FA
mags, and seen the pieces on FA websites, but before this had they ever seen a mainstream FA novel? I think not, and for this alone the author is to be congratulated. Perhaps a case of one small step for FAs, one giant step for mainstream publishing.

In a way the sheer title and the main feature of one of the central
protaganists remain the most remarkable things about it. The distinguishing marks of the book unfold gingerly - perhaps we're witnessing a sort of tentative coming out on the part of the author. Indeed, as he grows bolder, so each successive flame of Max's emerges with greater girth than the last. There are sorties into the territory of the wordsmithing of voluptuousness, although these too remain tentative and ambivalent - FA's will find them alluring, while for others they will remain descriptive and non-committal - Beatrice -'the whole of her was substantial, she seemed to overflow her boundaries'; Helen - 'her breasts warped the design of her T-shirt like twin Mercator projections'; Bibi - 'hard to tell where her bust ended and her belly began...she clamped his hand ...between her armpit and the fleshy swell of her upper arm'. And these too come with accelerating frequency in the latter part of the book.

Finally, there is the sting in the tail at the end of the narrative, and
having already said that, I'll resist saying any more to give the ending
away. (Yes, for those who've already read it, pun intended.) The ending
itself has to be, at least, controversial. There's a dark humour in it that
from the fat apologist's point of view could be thought regrettable; but the
book wan't written as a polemic, and as a mainstream publication perhaps
inevitably it would conclude with a catchy and dramatic rather than a happy ending.

For readers left wondering about the author's personal views on fat issues,
here's his statement: "I believe that fat people - or large-sized, or
whatever term you prefer - are still some of the most discriminated against people in civilized countries that ought to know and behave better."
4.0 out of 5 stars Fleshed Out 6 Feb 2009
By Daryl Gainnes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Like raw, disturbing fiction? Look no further; this is the book you want.

Galef puts down all the facts concisely that it's impossible not to visualize every sentence allowing an easy read with a lot of dynamite packed into it. The last chapter felt a bit rushed in comparison to the rest of the novel, but it's hard to beat the last sentence. That was masterful.

I disagree with the one-star reviewer in terms of Galef being "anti-fat" so to speak, and think that the reviewer missed the point of obsession.

This novel tells the story of an English professor, Don, who becomes unhealthily obsessed with his next-door neighbor and History professor, Max. Going so far as to spy on extremely intimate moments and gain weight to fit the mold of what Max finds appealing his fascination morphs into a disturbing love and longing - something emphasized with the growing distance between Don and his wife. The tragic ending and Don's response to it only emphasize his obsession as Don fills Max's role, loving him so much that essentially he becomes Max.

Keep an eye out for Eric. Though a minor character, he's the most entertaining and interesting, in my opinion.

Steamy book - if you get squimish by BDSM, read with caution. Gratuitous eroticism ahead.
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