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Outline of My Lover: A Novel [Paperback]

Douglas A. Martin
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

25 Jan 2002
A Stunning Coming-of-Age Novel from a Startling New Voice in American Writing; In the sleepy town of Athens, Georgia, a young man goes off to a college miseducation and is drawn into a world of rich vicarious living. The unspoken relationship between this adolescent and his luminous rock star boyfriend fast becomes a tale of world tours and plush continental hotel rooms. When the relationship falters under celebrity's shape-shifting light, real life fills in the outline of the boy's expectations.

Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New edition edition (25 Jan 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330489607
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330489607
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 12.4 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 986,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Publisher

advance praise:
advance praise:
"There is a reverence in Douglas Martin's writing composed of equal parts language and love. Outline of My Lover strips away the dross, leaving you with the pure mood of youth." -Dale Peck

"Douglas Martin takes you through the heat of family, the electricity of want, and the watch-what-you-wish-for gift of an elusive, famous, lover. This book feeds you." -Michelle Tea

"Spare and elegant, Martin's book is a worthy companion piece to Duras' The Lover. It is his elegy on passion and loss." -Darcey Steinke

"Douglas Martin has a very beautiful voice. It is a thing of grace." -Dennis Cooper --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Douglas A. Martin is the author of two collections of poetry, and co-author of 'The Haiku Year (Soft Skull, April '98). His work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Best Gay Erotica 2000. He is currently working on a new novel and a book of poetry. Born in Virginia in 1973, Martin was raised in Georgia. He now lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Emotionally Charged Work 5 Sep 2003
Format:Paperback
Every so often a poet breaks free of stanzas and iambic pentameters and branches out into the world of the novel; and every so often they produce a work of stunning beauty. Think of Anne Michael's 'Fugitive Pieces,' and now of Douglas A. Martin's 'Outline of My Lover.'
Martin's debut novel tells the story of a college boy who becomes fixated upon a celebrity. Seeing him on television he believes him to be 'the ideal man, an answer to my problems with boys so far.' The two go on to forge a relationship which is constantly subject to myriad pressures: the demands of fame, the public versus the private image, the question of commitment and the obsessive quality of desire.
As a haunting portrayal of obsession, told with an almost brutal attention to emotional detail, Martin's book bears comparison with Thomas Mann's classic 'Death in Venice.' The prose is at once slick and raw, highly stylised and evocatively naturalistic. It will draw you in to the mind of a disturbed and disturbing young man and leave you gasping for air.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thinking 25 Jan 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is many things, and that's what makes it exciting. It clearly displays some emotional truth. It's clearly based on something, but I'd wager that the author is smart enough to know he is not set out to give a blow-by-blow account, historic or otherwise. Does that make it "fiction"? And what interest does such a division of knowledge such terms allow for presuppose? This book might test a reader's ability to separate what they believe they know from "facts" outside the book from "facts" presented inside the book. The style is somewhat aphoristic, somewhat epigrammatic, certainly fragmentary (in that it never seeks to convey that it's giving the whole picture), and elliptical, in that grammatically it does not always progress tense-wise in a linear fashion. Is it "realism"? Fans of the book's subject will have to decide what the book's subject indeed is-is it the more sensational aspects of celebrity it requires no real stretch of the imagination to respond to one way or the other?
I see one of the book's subjects to be how difficult it is in the aftermath of "coupling" to attempt to divide yourself out, from what you have believed you knew, which has to do with what you believed you felt, which afterwards it can often be hard to still feel when you don't have before you what you once did. I think structurally the book itself might critique the "narrative" of romance: how does a love story end if not in a marriage? Is this one of the reasons gays now feel they have to fight for this? What then does become the plot? And what is the purpose of life, if not love? How do we begin to recognize what we should move on towards? Why should we ever get off the couch and turn the videos off?
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A work of fiction? 12 Dec 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
It is baffling why this book is described as a novel when it is so clearly a kiss-and-tell about a real-life celebrity. Written in a strange "arty" style it simply relates the story of the author's relationship with a rock star whose identity is only very thinly disguised. (There are so many clues you really don't have to be a genius to guess who this book is about).
It was hard to be objective, having read this only as a fan of the book's subject, but as a stand-alone novel it makes a pretty pointless read, having no plot, direction or purpose.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprised and Touched 20 Jun 2000
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I received this book as a gift and was ready to read it out of morbid curiosity then scoff at it, knowing who the famous Lover is that the author refers to. Instead, in a bout of insomnia, I read the book through to the end in the early hours of the morning. I was pleasantly surprised to find it was a tale of love, loneliness, yearning, need, and loss, with all the details and small obsessions ringing true. Rather than completely malign his ex-love Martin chose the better part and gave a ruthlessly honest portrayal of a relationship in which both sides are flawed, real people, and both sides also have love and kindness in them. It's a fragile little story that anyone who has ever fantasized about having a passionate affair with a famous person, can identify with. My main concern is that now that he has 'spilled the beans' will his former Lover still mail him new sheets?
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sensitive 28 Dec 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
this is an excellent very sensitive book. i wouldnt rank it as a classic, but i do think that it is exceptionally frank and shows a sensitivity hard to find both in books and in people. i lent this book to a number of my friends. they all thought this is one of the best books they read in a while.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Someone Hasn't Been Doing Their Homework! 7 Aug 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
How this book is classified is obviously erroneous. There is an emotional veracity that makes it well worth spending the time absorbing its examination rather than flipping through it looking for names. If this is a diary, it is one written with a complicated command of perspective and that the narrator began as a child and managed to keep before he has even gone off to school, as the first forty-four pages dealing almost exclusively with the terrain of early childhood, roughly an entire third of the page count, attest.
Ridiculous as it may seem, the narrator goes to Athens for the same reason a number of people go to Athens, the difference here being that the book's narrator is successful. This "cycle" of the book spins slowly out the narrator's control, placing both characters' continued identities at stake. Whether or not the story actually ever existed in the past (the narrator claims for the only evidence two pictures, one of which each of the ex-partners hold), by casting his journey through a first person subjectivity struggling to be as objective as possible in overwhelming circumstances, the narrator has little to laugh about, as well as few people to turn to, as in this sort of dynamic it is the powerful who will always be represented as right. I would wager some liberties have been taken to make certain points.
Indeed structured as an Outline, the narrator constantly belies an awareness of being educated by men, the shortcomings of such teachers, and of setting up a story. I'd point out a parallel/shortsightedness on the narrator's, but not the author's, part between his lover and his father's alcoholism (outlined in the first section) as a projection onto the disappointing lover.
As for manipulation, Martin does indeed imaginatively make some of guessed rock star's favorite imagery underlying motifs of the narrator's im(pen)ding fate. Here you have just the beginning, and the developing of the concerns Martin first began expressing several years ago in books then classified as poetry.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fragile Porcelain Novel 4 Jun 2001
By Jay3fer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a lovely book to hold; it's tiny, compact, with a well-designed cover -- things that made a big difference to my initial perception of it. The content of "Outline of my Lover", however, is not so much a novel as a collection of more-or-less plotless but poetic ruminations that are enjoyable in the way they are conjoined and juxtaposed.
I was expecting a little more of a story, but what conventional plotting does take place in this novel is handled so delicately that it is barely perceptible. Nevertheless, Martin's reflections on stardom are important observations of our society, where we often live side-by-side with celebrities but rarely acknowledge them in any human sense.
This book, despite its sparse tone, is a promising addition to Martin's literary career. REM fans looking for voyeuristic detail won't find it here, but readers looking for a sensitive, thoughtful interpretation of the persistence of love will be rewarded in abundance with this novel.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outline's fantastic. 18 April 2007
By Ange Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is transgrassive and entirely ahead of its time. People are probably better able to understand the concepts it explores now that we are subjected to so much celebrity news. We can see how seductive the life is, how expensive the giftbags are and how much better people think you are of you're famous. Mr. Martin's book has beautiful, careful prose and gorgeous passages. His writing takes you right there.

This books is an amazing accomplishment.
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