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The Sex Offender: A Novel Paperback – 3 May 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Avalon Travel Publishing; Reprint edition (3 May 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802136958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802136954
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 13.9 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,973,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Son of Nietzsche on 16 Oct. 2006
Format: Paperback
A brilliant and captivating work. As a novel that received the accolade of "an astonishment" from the genius that is Dennis Cooper, immediately you know that you're in for an unforgettable journey. Having previously read 'Allan Stein' by the same author, I naturally had preconceptions about 'The Sex Offender' - all of which were trampled on. Matthew Stadler's incredible talent is evident from the fact that two novels entirely unrecognisable from one another in tone and style could emerge from the same pen (or keyboard), and yet be equally powerful.

'The Sex Offender' is difficult to categorise, but if you think 'A Clockwork Orange' and '1984', then you'd start out along the right lines. The primary thread of the story is that our protagonist, a former teacher, is undergoing "rehabilitation" for having an illicit (consensual) relationship with a 12 year old pupil. This 'treatment' initially takes the form of electric shock aversion-style therapy, which shifts it's focus as the teacher (inevitably) proves 'resistant' to the attempts to transform his nature.

However, the scope of this ambitious work is far wider than the issue of whether such treatment can merely 'neuter' rather than 'reform' the patient. The key is the setting of the novel: an unspecified (future?) time, when the State is infallible and omnipotent and the populace are controlled through an elaborate means of propaganda and heavy restrictions on individual liberty. While undergoing 'treatment', our teacher meets, and becomes infatuated with, an adolescent boy who works for a deluded group of rebels seeking to overthrow the State and seize power for their own leader.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Jean Genet for the MTV generation.......? 8 July 2007
By Mark Nadja - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
How do you write a novel about pederasty, pornography, brainwashing, Orwellian totalitarianism, and revolution, give it an irresistible title, and yet manage to make it a tedious bore to read? It would seem to be almost impossible. But Matthew Stadler has done exactly that with *The Sex Offender.*

The time is an unspecified future; the place, a sexually repressive dystopia. Our narrator is the sex offender of the title: an ex-teacher, guilty of conducting a love affair with one of his underage students. He is sentenced to a radical program of mental reconditioning to rid him of his outlaw desires. That's the way it's done in this unenlightened but humane future. He is given the name `Mr. Uh-Uh' to preserve his anonymity so that stigma won't follow him the rest of his life after he's cured. I can't tell you how annoying and silly it seemed to me to hear other characters address our narrator as "Mr. Uh-Uh." It was a real relief when he was finally given the new name of `Mr. Sludge.'

Anyway, Mr. Sludge is supposed to be writing a memoir of his crime--a sort of confession/autobiography that will supposedly have a therapeutic effect, not to mention add to the library of resource materials culled from felons like himself. But suddenly, and more than a bit inexplicably, Mr. Sludge is recruited to become a kind of radical cosmetic surgeon at the super-secret `Salon,' which provides powerful political figures upkeep on their iconographic public images.

Meanwhile, there's a revolution afoot that seems to be gathered around the return of a totemic drag queen exiled back in a time that by comparison now seems a golden age of sexual diversity and tolerance. One of the rebels, a beautiful boy named, of all things, Hakan, ((he's Turkish, you see, a favorite archetype for connoisseurs of this sort of thing)) ends up sharing our narrator's board--and bed. It seems the mental conditioning isn't working on Mr. Sludge.

Something more drastic needs to be done about him.

It's often difficult to read *The Sex Offender* as anything but a thinly-veiled excuse to pen steamy romantic love scenes between the narrator and the underage Hakan while still maintaining the thinnest veneer of social responsibility. But I don't buy it. I found a lot of *The Sex Offender* pretty distasteful precisely because you get the creepy feeling that the author is being disingenuous and is really getting off on what he is lamely condemning.

The only thing remarkable, or `shocking' about this book is that it is presented in the current climate of zero tolerance for pederasts. All of what's here has been done before and done much better. This is Jean Genet Lite or William S. Burroughs for Dummies. If you're going to read perversion, go for the masters! Its short--205 pages--so its got that going for it, you won't waste too much of your time. And there are some lyric passages and some startling imagery and disturbingly surreal touches--but, in the end, *The Sex Offender* is a seedy disappointment.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A Glamorous Surreal Masterpiece 17 Jun. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Stadler's novel is a romantic and surreal pedophilian nightmare. (un)dressing Lolita in boys clothes and puting Drag Queens at 1984 command. He mix humour, homo erotism and cruelty with perfection. One of my best readings, ever!
Meh... 17 Jan. 2013
By Wolfsegg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Stadler has clear talent. No doubt about that. The book is at its strongest when Stadler confines himself to intense psychological characterizations. There, his relatively spare prose style works. Stadler's downfall, however, is plotting. The novel is meandering and predictable. Though Stadler tackles some very sensational subject matter, the weak plot and bland writing are major liabilities.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Descriptive or predictive? 16 Oct. 2006
By Elliot - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A brilliant and captivating work. A novel that received the accolade of "an astonishment" from the genius that is Dennis Cooper, immediately you know that you're in for an unforgettable journey. Having previously read 'Allan Stein' by the same author, I naturally had preconceptions about 'The Sex Offender' - all of which were trampled on. Matthew Stadler's incredible talent is evident from the fact that two novels entirely unrecognisable from one another in tone and style could emerge from the same pen (or keyboard), and yet be equally powerful.

'The Sex Offender' is difficult to categorise, but if you think 'A Clockwork Orange' and '1984', then you'd start out along the right lines. The primary thread of the story is that our protagonist, a former teacher, is undergoing "rehabilitation" for having an illicit (consensual) relationship with a 12 year old pupil. This 'treatment' initially takes the form of electric shock aversion-style therapy, which shifts it's focus as the teacher (inevitably) proves 'resistant' to the attempts to transform his nature.

However, the scope of this ambitious work is far wider than the issue of whether such treatment can merely 'neuter' rather than 'reform' the patient. The key is the setting of the novel: an unspecified (future?) time, when the State is infallible and omnipotent and the populace are controlled through an elaborate means of propaganda and heavy restrictions on individual liberty. While undergoing 'treatment', our teacher meets, and becomes infatuated with, an adolescent boy who works for a deluded group of rebels seeking to overthrow the State and seize power for their own leader. As a patient of the Doctor-General for the 'Department of Crime and Health' (note the correlation of these areas of society) the teacher becomes embroiled both with the promulgation of the existing State and with the rebel's goal of revolution.

These twin stories of 'sexual crime' and a controlling State serve as an exceptionally apt tool for an examination of the nature and powers of the State versus individual freedom. Matthew Stadler's novel is in many ways as descriptive of the State as it exists today, as it is predictive of the State as it will be in the future....hence the question: does the State ever really change, or does it merely re-vamp it's projected image periodically, in order to perpetrate such illusions as 'people power' and 'democracy'? Matthew Stadler's mastery of language and expert craftsmanship have produced a fascinating and insightful novel that is still haunting days after first being read - and one which will beg to be read again. Thought-provoking and unique, 'The Sex Offender' should not be missed.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Dazed and Confused 20 Sept. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Sex Offender by Matthew Stadler is a reading nightmare. When you think it's coming together and starting to make sense, everything goes astray. It peaks the imagination, but ultimately leaves you, like it's hero, overexcited and unable to perform. The writing is someimes beautiful and sometimes indulgent. It would be nice to be inside Matthew Stadler's brilliant mind and travel with him on this convoluted trip.
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