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God Jr. Paperback – 21 Jul 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 163 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press (21 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802170110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802170118
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 12.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 514,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Clover on 10 Mar. 2006
Format: Paperback
For those used to Cooper's work this may seem a departure. God Jr. explores the emotional aftermath of an accident which kills a man's son through the obsessed, guilty and basically screwed up thoughts of a man who try's to make sense of his own life through his son's obsessions with a video game and a mysterious tower.
Cooper's spare, taut prose produces a tender and real depiction of grief and guilt that draw you in unsuspectedly to identifying with a flawed character.
Short and very, very sweet.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Mature, Muscular Prose from Cooper 8 Sept. 2005
By Jason M. - Published on
Format: Paperback
Reexamining violence, trauma, and death from an untried perspective, God Jr. may be Dennis Cooper's strongest novel yet.

"I wanted Tommy's death to last forever. That's all." (44) So says Jim, narrating God Jr. This is the issue at the center of the text, a grieving father's search for meaning and healing in the wake of his son's accidental death. This is still a Dennis Cooper novel, however, and so a subject too frequently rendered in the pastels and sepias of greeting card sentimentality is incisively and honestly explored. The result is not a comforting, feel good story but rather a harrowing look into mourning, generational difference, and emotional trauma.

Cooper's prose has always been carefully disciplined, which cast a particular detached - almost clinical - view on what would otherwise have been gratuitous scenes of sex and violence. At the core of his project is a strong emotional resonance which is the counterpoint to the physical realities in his texts.

In God Jr. Cooper continues to discover death (as he did in My Loose Thread, the novel which followed the conclusion of the George Miles Cycle), yet the focus is not physical but mental, emotional. Death renders Cooper's characters "abstract." The dead are removed from the living immediately, but reserved at an unresolvable distance; the living know the dead in a form greater than in memory yet less than in physicality. They can communicate, but "apparently, dead people can't enunciate." (131) So says the "psychic" brought in by Tommy's mother, Bette, to help her know her son in her loss. Jim seizes upon a different course.

"The Childish Scrawl," the third section of God Jr. and the most emotionally powerful, is an allegorical and too-stoned walk through of Tommy's favorite video game. As Jim takes on the role of the Bear, the game's hero, his interaction with the other characters reveals his raw emotional state at believing himself to be his son's killer. Here the parallels and ideas explode: between father and son, Father and Son, Father and children, hero and supporting cast, and citizen and excommunicated individual. What we are immediately aware of, and what remains with us long after the end of the novel, is that a significant change in perspective is required to come to terms with the ideas Cooper has set forth.

God Jr. is thoroughly the work of Dennis Cooper. But it is not a Cooper that we recognize from the George Miles Cycle. Our author has matured in myriad ways. With this new direction comes a need to move beyond the traditional examinations of his work and begin exploring the emotional and spiritual questions and ideas with which Cooper is grappling.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
amazing- and no gore! 20 Nov. 2005
By Karin S. Chenowith - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a dennis cooper fan. I've always respected his choice to use "out there" subject matter. But that's not why i like his books. The draw for me is the writing itself. What is made of the subject. Period is my favorite still. But this one now takes second place. The fantastical dialogue reminds me a bit of Kurt Vonnegut. With this book (devoid of any trace of gore, pedophelia, homosexuality, mayhem, heroin, etc) all of the fainter-hearted readers out there will have a chance to enjoy the genius of Dennis Cooper.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
An Unexpected Gem 11 Oct. 2009
By Buddy - Published on
Format: Paperback
For the first time, since years ago, when I first picked up a Dennis Cooper novel (one of the early George Miles cycle books) I was actually surprised by the subject matter of a Cooper work. That's not to say that I don't enjoy or appreciate Dennis Cooper's work; in fact, I'm an avid fan - having now read all but one of his novels. Still, Cooper tends to be predictable in subject matter, theme, and plot. This time, however, Cooper has done something completely new. The plot is innovative, creative, and haunting. The story itself is still Cooper-esque, disturbing and a bit sick, and it is still an examination of death. Except, this time, rather than death as a scientific experiment - in body function, sensory reaction, sexuality, etc., Cooper is explaining death through grief and love - the loss of a child and how his already troubled father tries to cope. Truly brilliant - I read it in one sitting, in a matter of 90 minutes.
Weird, idiosyncratic, and beautifully simple. 11 April 2006
By Jose Jones - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've often wondered why someone as talented as Cooper never explored another genre. I was curious how his stripped-down writing style would feel in a world not brimming with violence, murder and sex. "God Jr." answers all of those questions.

"God Jr." is about soul-crushing grief and loss, and about how a father builds a tangible monument to his son to compensate for feelings he probably never had. The son died in a car accident while driving with his under-the-influence father. His parents find drawings of an odd structure and in homage to their dead son begin to build it -- at great expense -- in their backyard. Turns out the son didn't even draw it and that it is, in fact, just something he picked up from a videogame. Later in the story the father "enters" this videogame to try to discover who his son was. The son kept the main videogame character in a spot so long that the animals of the game became self-aware and began asking questions. They want to know who they are and why they're here. Because the son brought about this enlightenment, they assume he's God.

The most amazing thing about this book, for me, is Cooper's prose. He's reduced his writing to the absolute bare minimum. There is not a single wasted word here. He has sharpened and sharpened his meticulous prose with a razor and the result is simple yet stunning.

This book -- really a novella -- is a good companion piece to Kathryn Harrison's "Envy." It's interesting to see how two very different but equally capable writers handle similar subject matter so contrastingly.
God-darned Good 12 Sept. 2009
By Vincent - Published on
Format: Paperback
What is death? What is life for that matter? What do our spaces, both real and virtual tell us about ourselves? Themes of transference, distortion and escapism abound in this terse, crackling novella that speaks volumes about who we are as both an addictive culture and a culture immersed in our ubiquitous virtual realities. A fine, fast read that lingers long after the story ends. Dennis Cooper can turn a smart phrase like a short-order cook but there's much more to God Jr. than a quick meal. This is deceptively powerful book that I've read twice now and will read again.
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