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Permanent Obscurity: Or a Cautionary Tale of Two Girls and Their Misadventures With Drugs, Pornography and Death
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Permanent Obscurity: Or a Cautionary Tale of Two Girls and Their Misadventures With Drugs, Pornography and Death [ペーパーバック]

Richard Perez



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A youthful bohemian satire, a story of alienated nonconformists, a "girls on the lam" story, a sexploitation and S/M romp. Welcome to the psychosexual world of PERMANENT OBSCURITY. Inspired by the underground sexploitation films of the 1960s, this bold updating of the "roughie" subgenre largely takes place in New York City's East Village (ca. 2006), and it chronicles the rise and fall of a unique and intense relationship. Dolores and Serena, two chemically dependent, down-and-out artists set out to take control of their lives by making a fetish-noir/femdom movie. Of course, things don't exactly turn out as planned.


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星1つ で最も参考になったカスタマーレビュー (beta) 5つ星のうち 4.1  85 件のカスタマーレビュー
11 人中、11人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
5つ星のうち 5.0 Totally Unexpected, Gripping and Memorable...I Loved It! 2010/8/2
投稿者 Lauri Crumley Coates - (
Permanent Obscurity: Or a Cautionary Tale of Two Girls and
Their Misadventures with Drugs, Pornography and Death
Author: Richard Perez
Published by Ludlow Press
ISBN: 978-097134154-8

It's tough to decide where to start with this novel. I loved it, I couldn't put it down. The characters and situations invaded my thoughts even when I wasn't reading it. At the same time, it's a bit disturbing, bizzare and odd. Of course, I mean those words in the most complimentary way possible.

Taking place predominately in the East Village, circa 2006, this is the tale of two best friends, Dolores Santana and Serena Moon. Both the bohemian "artsy" types, by most standards they lead very eccentric and random lives. Serena is a performer, she's been a singer in any number of bands, none lasting too long. She does whatever comes along to scratch out the financial means needed to fund her lifestyle. Most of the money she uses comes from Sebastian, aka Baby, a man who serves as a submissive or slave to Mistress Serena's dominating and dominatrix personality. Dolores is an artist, mainly in photo media, and supports her art work and lifestyle with a never ending string of temporary jobs, mind-numbing and soul-stealing jobs, but a necessary evil nonetheless. Raymond is her significant other, an older lawyer who always tries to get Dolores to think more seriously and professionally about her art.

Serena and Dolores are larger than life, two alienated non-conformists, sharing a strange and unusually intense relationship in every sense of the word. In Perez's novel, the girls embark on a mindbending orgy of drugs, petty crime, porn and more, leading to an ending nothing short of inspired and genius.

Using the fetish film subculture that was born in the 60's, mixing in petty and escalatingly more serious crime, recreational drug use and various forms of betrayal, Richard Perez has written an oddly breathtaking view of the directions life can take once you lose control. The characters, even fairly minor ones, are drawn in many dimensions. The novel illustrates profoundly the unusual and sometimes ugly roads we chose to take. While not always easy reading, it's a wholly gratifying story and the characters stay with the reader long after the book is finished. A warning note: more tame souls might be tempted to skip past a paragraph or description here and there, and may think the language is too salty for them. If you can put these feelings aside, you'll be glad you did. I can't wait to read other works by this very promising author. In fact, I am ordering his first novel today, as soon as I complete publication of this review.
5 人中、5人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
5つ星のうち 1.0 Permanent Idiocy 2010/11/22
投稿者 20somethingbibliophile - (
There isn't anything to spoil it in my review, but since I thought it was terrible you can just skip to the end and read the last paragraph or two, my summary of the book and final thoughts.

At first look the book purports itself to be a satire of Bohemia and and 60s "sexploitation" films. In my opinion it was a story about a couple of girls who never grew up and decided to try to find an easy way out of the hole they had dug themselves in.

Dolores and Serena, main characters, are about as different as they come. Dolores is an average sized, average looking, average photographer addicted to drugs and alcohol. She works at a temp agency because she's too afraid to really get out there and try to publish her art. Serena is pure feminine perfection with a selfish demeanor. She has no job and no real skills other than her looks and her ability to manipulate those around her.

To put it simply, I hated the characters. Serena was a manipulative bitch from word one and never changed. She was always out for herself and never stopped to question consequences. She was ruled by her id. When she wanted drugs she manipulated and weaseled drugs out of someone. When she wanted to feel powerful, she found someone willing to play her submissive. She exploited those around her for her personal gain. I wanted to strangle her on a regular basis through the story.

Other than hating the characters, I hated the dialogue. Talking in such dialect and slang through the whole story set my teeth on edge. I realize that the characters are uneducated and uncouth in every way, but at least some of the narrative should have been in standard, grammatically correct, English. The volgarity of the language (and some of the plot) left much to be desired as well.

I can boil the story down in a few lines: Dolores and Serena are friends with no life outside of whining about their problems and getting high. Dolores and Serena realize that they have a problem with their lives when people start stalking them. Serena decides to make a femdom porno and steers Dolores into the plan. Things go horribly wrong because they can't keep themselves from getting drunk and high and self-sabotaging. Someone dies and they have to decide to `man up' and take responsibility or not. The End.

The only reason I finished the book is that I was asked to read and review it and I gave my word. Otherwise I'd have stopped half way through and asked for a refund. I was not impressed at all. If you still feel like reading it, be aware that it does have sexually explicit material in it that might not be for everyone.
5 人中、5人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
5つ星のうち 4.0 Permanent Debt 2010/7/2
投稿者 Lyle R - (
Permanent Obscurity, fascinated me from the beginning. I didn't know anything about it really, but when I read a quote from Richard Perez that said the novel needed some explanation, I was sold. That usually means that it's raw and uncensored. Here's what he wrote:

"It's specifically an exploitation novel, written in that vernacular, which some might regard as "low brow" or vulgar. And it delves into BDSM territory with these two young ladies taking the dominatrix (exploitation) route."

But I'm not sure that any of that really matters. Or rather the question is not so much an issue of "low" or "high brow" but of pornography. How does one write a novel about pornography (at least in part), in this instance one female character taking on the role of female dominatrix?1 It is inherently a tightrope act and Perez' balance is struck by couching the entire novel as a confession. The novel's subtitle is "A Cautionary Tale." So the "vulgar" parts are actually Dolores Santana's (the confessor) retelling of a story written by someone else (the script, for example, of a femdom movie Dolores and Serena, her best friend, make) through Perez' supposed recording. I like this. It's pleasantly convoluted and allows Perez to be honest with the material, which means that it is not a novel for squeamish readers. But I was forewarned about the subject -- not that it would have made any difference to me.

Juxtaposed with the story within a story point of view, is the tone of the story. It is written largely in dialog: quick, simple conversations that keep the story moving (a plot that the characters seem unable to escape, like fate). The prose between the dialog keeps that conversational patter (it is a confession after all), which gives an ironic lightness to the rather dark subject matter (drugs, sex, violence -- the exploitation of both sexes). It's fitting, though, to think about the off-handed way people often commit crimes and about the way that exploitation movies and literature and tabloids themselves are written. Sensational acts are often a result of habitual mundane activities. There are always reasons behind them and this is a story about that.

The characters pull the book through and keep it from becoming a farce or worse, pornography itself. It is about self-identification. It is about a fall from grace and redemption, in that Catholic sense of confession. It is about understanding the dark side of human nature through experience and coming away wiser through self-realization, which is the only way to improve ourselves. Raymond, Dolores' boyfriend, tells her, "You gotta let people be who they wanna be." That may be true to an extent, but there are boundaries and Dolores learns that the hard way. Life is difficult and unjust and filled with "truly perverse, heinous stuff" and self-doubt (even at the very end, she looks for guidance: "You tell me."). And while she may have learned something about herself and those around her, it comes at a cost. We never finish paying it.
5 人中、5人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
5つ星のうち 5.0 Satire Of Tabloid American Excess 2010/4/14
投稿者 M. D. Jordan - (
This is a wild trip to the dark side of contemporary life, particularly life in an underground fringe culture of aspiring performance artists who might also work as doms or fetish photographers on the side. Call it Fetish Noir or an erotic satire, either way it's highly entertaining, a fast and enjoyable book, funny and raunchy. It has a realistic street-wise quality, lots of hip slang, and an edgy pulp-fiction vibe.

The book is narrated by Dolores, a young woman with some problems, but none like those of the true love and loss of her life, Serena Moon. In the beginning, both young ladies have borderline boyfriends or what might be called hetero relationships, but it soon becomes clear, while not admitting it to each other, that the central relationship is between the two.

As things go along, they get into more and more trouble together. Dolores and Serena have major substance abuse problems and relationship problems and career problems. This book's central narrative is about a desperate downward spiral, a slippery slope to oblivion.

All the characters are well drawn and interesting, though most of the men are portrayed as inconsequential and pathetic, providing a kind of comic relief or acting as foils for the two main female leads. And much of the book deals with this subculture of S/M, or more specifically D/s ... Dominas and submissives. If that kind of thing bothers you, stay clear of this book. There's a lot of it here.

Overall, this is a fun satire of American excess and tabloid youth culture. The key word here is dark and the book has a lot of profanity. For me, being a fan of Naked Lunch by William Burroughs and books by Bukowski, the dark satiric quality made the book funny and more entertaining, but it's not for everyone.
4 人中、4人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
5つ星のうち 5.0 Intriguing storyline and writing style 2010/12/11
投稿者 Mary E. Young - (
I was a bit skeptical whether or not I would enjoy this book. However, its conversational tones and writing style won the day. I was instantly intrigued with the story and the characters and found myself having a hard time putting the book down.

This book is about Dolores and Serena, best friends who live in New York City. Dolores is an aspiring photographer, and devoutly loyal to Serena. Serena, is a stunning woman, one willing to do almost anything to feed her cocaine habit. A series of events leads the two women into the world of pornography, where they attempt to make their own bdsm film.

If you are squeamish about drugs and sex, this isn't the book for you. But for all others, I recommend this book for its intriguing writing style and the spiraling out-of-control story line.
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