The Adventures of Lucky Pierre

The Adventures of Lucky Pierre

by Robert Coover

Lucky Pierre is the most famous man in Cinecity, where pornography is the basis of social norms and the mayoral motto is Pro Bono Pubis.

He walks to work (the studio where his films are made) in the winter cold, icicles tipping his constantly exposed and engorged penis, and every small interaction provides another opportunity for exercising his prurient art.This vision of a sexualized universe is unique in that social power (and the power to direct, rather than merely appear in, these sex-films) belongs entirely to women.

Lucky Pierre himself seems to have no free will, indeed, no existence outside his films.

He is commanded by these women, and by the overwhelming impulses of his prodigiously endowed organ.The book is a collection of fantasiesa man entering his office instantly begins acrobatically copulating with the receptionist on her desk; a piano teacher administers discipline to his nubile young female students; a castaway discovered by the Nine Muses, who have never seen a man before and quickly begin to test his unfamiliar parts; an engagement party turns into a frenzied bacchanal; a wedding into a sadomasochistic ritual and then a chase scene.

Pierre is often made ridiculous, a clown as much as a leading man, and always, everything that happens to him is seen; there is no part of his life that is not, potentially, a film.

For example, he joins up with the Extars, a guerrilla group of squatters who adopt him as Crazy Leg, their leader; with them, in particular Lottie, their young leading lady, he rediscovers the vivid joys of life as a sexual outlawincluding copulating with her on the trapeze of a circus.

Morose and attempting to avoid the inevitable, he flees to a showing of his own work, which ends up leading him, now resigned to his fate, back to the soundstagewhere, in the end, he rediscovers ecstasy, and the closure of his destiny.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Novels
  • Rating: 3.58
  • Pages: 416
  • Publish Date: February 17th 2004 by Grove Press
  • Isbn10: 0802140416
  • Isbn13: 9780802140418

Read the Book "The Adventures of Lucky Pierre" Online

Hmmm a tongue-in-cheek/ nonsensical answer would be hee hee, it's cause he couldn't think of bizarro fantasies that quickly:p But as DFW states in the essay Big Red Son* : "It is universally acknowledged that the US adult-film industry, at $3.5-4 billion in annual sales, rentals, cable charges, and video-masturbation-booth revenues, is an even larger and more efficient moneymaking machine than legitimate mainstream American cinema (the latters annual gross commonly estimated at $2-2.5 billion." thus porn as an industry has a sizeable audience so it's not really strange that a writer like Coover would explore that medium esp. Note the dedication to "Saint Buster, Saint Luis, and Saint Jean-Luc, who kept the light burning in the dark century." Keaton is obviously a comic influence here but Buñuel & Godard scream avant-garde cinema: anti-convention, anti-establishment fitting Coover's postmodernist, metafictional, subversive agenda like the right size of rubber. He is a man who f***s." The Female Gaze Coover's masterstroke is that he has presented Lucky Pierre's story via the female gaze: This is exactly what the makers of American Psycho did when they put Mary Harron in charge of this highly controversial, misogynistic material Lucky lives for our perverse entertainment, he is only living out the female fantasies ( with one exception- a rape fantasy from his earlier silent movie period), that should please the feminists among us but I'm neutral to gender issue on this one- I don't enjoy seeing a male being a sex object anymore than a female being a sex object- abuse doesn't see gender. Female sexuality, as depicted by the various female directors-cum-costars' porn fantasies; is rapacious- it literally annihilates the male as shown in the cannibalistic movie within the movie in Reel 2.( Lars von Trier took the same approach in his Antichrist.) Lucky is nothing but a toy exploited by his so-called nine muses: "He has been a good professional for all the life he knows, but it has trapped him inside a box of artificial light even as it pulled him in all directions at once and has given him no life, no center of his own." Coover's attitude to porn/sex is ambivalent throughout- it's a source of ecstasy and meaning in an otherwise meaningless world but he also seems to mock it- the book's conclusion on an unfinished sentence is loaded with irony & while the electric energy of Coover's live wire prose superbly animates the various reels, a casual mixing of the high & the low, the absurd & the grotesque leads to both pathos & bathos 'cause there is no mistaking that sex provides a palliative but for a short while; life is a constant terror outside it. A Night at the Movies, Or, You Must Remember This: Fictions had already given me an idea of Coover's ease with the cinematic medium but Lucky Pierre melds fiction & the world of cinema in a way that's nothing short of awe inspiring allusive text, homages, and various cinematic techniques jump cuts, superimpositions, lap dissolves, montages, recursive loop, time-lapse sequence, cut-and-splice discontinuities, back projections, storyline- an associative free-for-all. Ultimately, it's Coover's versatile & highly inventive language that rescues & ennobles The Adventures of Lucky Pierre, just like it did for Nabokov's unpalatable subject in Lolita. Lucky Pierre shares the goofiness of Boogie Nights & the dilemma of Don Jon. It's an important book in that people have now access to porn like never before & their expectations from real relationships are skewed by that make-believe world- it takes you inside that world: " 'Lucky Pierre is a morality tale of how pornography impoverishes the lives of all who make it and watch it.**" Not recommended for everyone, quite obviously. (view spoiler)"In Briar Rose (1996) and Ghost Town (1998) Robert Coover took two identity- and culture-defining narrative genres--the fairy tale and the American Western--and turned them inside out. The more ambitious Lucky Pierre takes on another such genre, pornography, treating it through the idiom of another culture-constructing form, cinema. Taken together, these films trace the course of his life, from youth to old age; the history of film, from silents through classic Hollywood narratives to avant-garde; and a survey of film genres, as pornography is hybridized with South Seas adventure, slapstick comedy, Japanese monster movie, and dozens of others. In a rare moment of self-awareness, Pierre thinks, "it has trapped him inside a box of artificial light even as it pulled him in all directions at once and has given him no life, no center of his own." This novel offers many outrageously funny, genuinely moving, and technically impressive sequences.

As any attentive reader of the Old Testament will immediately recognize, Coover opens Lucky Pierres first pages with language taken directly from the first verse of the Book of Lamentations: How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! Jerusalem remembered in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old, when her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none did help her: the adversaries saw her, and did mock at her sabbaths. - "harts that find no pasture, they are gone without strength..." - let us here recall Lucky's many ascents into meadow idylls during his lowest moments of hard-on hypothermia-induced dream-escape, and Cinecity, that place bereft of greenery, where the only flowering pastures reside as sets in pornographic film studios... Lucky Pierre itself is something of an acrostic, all of its nine director-dominatrix-actress-Muses assigned names beginning with the letter C - which of course is correlative to our beautiful English word Cunt (or Coover, many words begin with "C") - each seeing over, as if a goddess eye from above, one of the 9 reels that compose the book. Chapter 3 of Lamentations consists of 66 verses (a shame, for Coovers purposes, it wasnt 69) and the 5th poem for some reason isnt an acrostic, as if the Bilbical scribes tired of their own self-imposed restrictions, or became distracted or hurried, and decided to let it all fray out there at the end. Lamentations is a qinah, a dirge, funereal music, a cry in song of misery for the siege and destruction of Jerusalem and its people. ...the destruction of the holy city was a punishment by its god for the communal sin of its people Coover's Lucky Pierre as well begins here, in lament, in song, a called-forth cantus, in a besieged Cinecity, a pornographic dystopia under constant snow and freeze, raining suicides from the windowsills, populated by a lost and suffering pedestrian population numbed to constant car accidents, death, and public copulation, where the sky is grey at its best and mostly black and icy. Alleluia perhaps representing the moment of orgasm, the final three the sort of twined sweaty fragrant denouement) : -Prayer -Reading or Lection -Psalm -Canticle -Hymn -Prose -Antiphon -Responsory -Introit -Gradual -Tract -Alleluia -Sequence -Offertory -Communion All of this is to say that Coovers The Adventures of Lucky Pierre: Directors Cut is situated from the outset in the old school moral realm, in the originating place of Western belief. Like Finnegans Wake, Lucky Pierre moves in circles, cycles, iterations and emergences rather than linearly. Like Finnegans Wake it is obsessed with repetition - the same key scenes and images, with slight alterations, bloom and accumulate meaning over the course of the book - it is made in a tense-less cosmic time, which runs and bleeds and circles back and diverges on a whim. (Of course, because we are just playing with miles and miles of celluloid here we can run it any way we wish pause fast forward rewind splice zoom in zoom out!) Like Finnegans Wake, it is a dirty, dirty book, and someone should think of the children. Like Finnegans Wake, Lucky Pierre is self-consciously music in prose. This perspective is a prison, it is pathetic, it is sad, and it prevents me from realizing the fullness of each human's being, it prevents me from treating people equally in my mind, it prevents me from walking around the world possessing anything approaching objective clarity in my interactions, and it is an inward-circling, self-perpetuating cycle of miserable, unattainable, retreating possibilities - but this impossibility of satiation is the very core of my desire! So Lucky Pierres adventures seem to me, from my locus as a heterosexual male, abysmally sad, and lonely, and wretched, because so radically, tragically human However, Coover makes central to this book the question of agency, for LP, remember, is always being directed, never the agent of his own actions - the most interesting part of this sexual-desiring sadness and wretchedness might be who or what is making us this way? Because Pierre is in actuality a prisoner of others desires, social desires and where social desires end and personal desires begin, that is a murky, gray, unfilmable place indeed! Back to my critical review!)-- Lucky Pierres endless prismatic shuffling of fantastic-perverse imagery and manic scene changes reads like the internet feels perceptually, as does Pierres capacity for self-division and replication and voyeurism at the hands of his torturesses (Lucky Pierre is never alone, never unwatched, never un-directed, never let alone to be himself without a reminder that he is a man who fucks!...) or its like all the fuck films ever made at once broadcast on our libidos universal holographic edge, which according to quantum physics just might be a giant movie screen!

2. Coover as Immoralistsex as the one true pleasure in life, revelling in the unlimited possibilities of locking organs with an infinite number of sexual partners, a freedom granted in the imagination only, coming on sofas, mattresses, kittens, sugarcanes, Audis, lettuce and deckchairs, again and again until ones sexual organs shrivel like fridge-bound salad and ones caveperson impulse to rut becomes a spiritual thing.

Life is a porn flick. Or maybe: Life is all porn flicks. But maybe I'm a guy like a lot of us who needs to be made uncomfortable. Funny good. Thoughtful good. These stories are movies, like I said. Or the making of movies. ('I have kids?' 'See, you never pay attention.') But it's the movies as real (reel?) life and he is whisked into a marriage counseling session. His penis gets pulled off. I know god has a sense of humor. If you are doing a Goodreads star rating, this would have sunk back to a 1 star except I can't forget how good this guy can be and was at times. I like Robert Coover. I think we need Robert Coover. I will read more Robert Coover, and soon. I keep thinking there's some hidden meaning, but aside from the obvious (Life is a porn flick. Or maybe: Life is all porn flicks.), maybe there is no meaning.

Thanks again to Jonathan for pointing out this sale of Barth books.

a parody of Holy Wood via pornody or is it just a straight up travesty of porn film.

This is a book about life and death and an embrace of the performance, the masks, the flesh, the heat, the fantasy and the fading away of ourselves. Fading away?

The man, our hero, trying to beat the light, comes charging up, but not in time, skids to a stop, glissandos right into the old lady's humped-over backside, bowling her heels over her head into the street with a jab of his stiff penis.

A series of interesting tensions, but which ultimately were deluged by the endless welter of descriptions of sex. The continuity veers wildly in places, which has the effect of making the book read like a cartoon (one of the muses Kate/Catherine is in fact an animator). 7) Lucky's declining proclivities with age were quite touchingly portrayed, the end of his career and all that pertained from that seeing as he only existed through his work So all these are in place, but like I say, overwhelmed by the endless description of copulation, both straight but more usually outlandish. There was a satirical element to this, in the form of cinema, sex/pornography, gender relations.

W/ its fancifully wrought alternative world liberally peppered w/ wild and sublimely imaginative incident, it is maybe the only novel by an American novelist who is not Pynchon that for me genuinely invokes GRAVITY'S RAINBOW, which itself invoked Joyce's ULYSSES and little else. LUCKY PIERRE is very much a book that takes place in the realm of what media theorist / philosopher Vilém Flusser called "post-history." It does a trick similar to what Gilles Deleuze sees the cinema doing in the post-war period: it destabilizes sequential flow to reveal the real, impossible-to-properly-experience face of time itself.

The Coovers lived in Spain for most of the early 1960s, a time during which Coover began regularly publishing stories in literary magazines, including the Evergreen Review. In 1969, Coover won a Rockefeller Foundation grant and published Pricksongs and Descants, his first collection of short fiction. During the early 1970s, Coover published only short stories and drama, including A Theological Position (1972), a collection of one-act plays, all of which were eventually produced for the stage. By the mid-1970s, Coover had finished his next novel, The Public Burning; it took him more than two years to find a publisher for the work, which was ultimately cited as a National Book Award nominee. Coover received a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1985 and a Rea Award for A Night at the Movies (1987), a collection of short stories.