Cover image for The adventures of Lucky Pierre : directors' cut
The adventures of Lucky Pierre : directors' cut
Coover, Robert.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Grove Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
405 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


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A virtuosic performance by one of "our most venturesome metafictional fabulists" ("The New York Times Book Review"), this is a sparkling meditation on how both sex and stories compel and invent--in both magical and violent ways.

Author Notes

Robert Coover is a midwesterner who has earned a reputation as one of the most innovative of contemporary writers of fiction. Coover likes to experiment with an abundance of differing styles. The Origin of the Brunists (1966), his first novel, is a religious parable heavily loaded with symbolism and mythical parallels. It deals with the rise following an Appalachian coal-mine disaster of a sect of worshipers made up of fundamentalists and theosophists whose leader, Giovanni Bruno, is less a preacher than a silent enigma. The principal analogue is apparently meant to be the founding of the Christian religion, but Coover's extensive irony requires that he reverse many of the traditional features of the Christian legend. The Universal Baseball Association (1968), Coover's most accessible novel to date, is also dominated by religious symbolism. Over the years, J. Henry Waugh, a middle-aged bachelor and accountant, has developed an elaborately structured game, which he plays with dice. His game is based on the mathematical probabilities of baseball. Every evening Henry plays his game and maintains his extensive record books. J. Henry Waugh is a surrogate for God, and the participants in his imaginary baseball league seem almost to come to life, raising as they do age-old questions about fate and free will, success and failure, games and religions.

Coover's Pricksongs and Descants (1969) is a collection of 20 short pieces and a theoretical "Prologo" in which the author states his belief that contemporary fiction should be based on familiar historical or mythical forms. Most of the stories in this volume, which was well received by critics, are based on biblical episodes or classical fairy tales retold in startling new ways.

The Public Burning (1977) is based on the controversial trial of the Rosenbergs. With the exception of a novel, A Night at the Movies (1992), Coover's publications in recent years have consisted mainly of shorter works, written at various stages of his career, published in limited editions to appeal to collectors. Coover is one of the founders of the Electronic Literature Organization. In 1987 he was chosen as the winner of the Rea Award for the Short Story. Coover is indeed one of the foremost short story writers of the postmodern period, as exemplified by the "Seven Exemplary Fictions" contained in his 1969 book Pricksongs and Descants.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The biggest industry in Cinecity--a frozen, sunless megalopolis where suicides rain from buildings and copulating couples are flattened on street corners by rampaging traffic--is porno movies, and Lucky Pierre--with his prominently displayed, near-perpetually tumescent member--is its biggest star. After a career spanning silent film and futuristic media, and adoration so intense that, at film premieres he is raped by gangs of pubescent girls desperate to lose their virginity to him, Pierre is tired of stardom and eager for escape. Unfortunately for him, he is the helpless muse of nine women directors--Cecilia, Cleo, Clara, Cassandra, Constance, Carlotta, Cora, Catherine, and Calliope--who trap him in different movie roles that blur the lines of dream, nightmare, fantasy, and reality. Coover seems to be satirizing our love affair with unreality while working through some fantasy issues of his own: A potent protagonist toyed with by omnipotent women certainly invites pop-psych analysis. This challenging metafiction is not for everyone, but the author's dystopia is wildly imaginative and vividly rendered, and his dense style is sharp, sometimes thought-provoking, and often funny. --Keir Graff

Publisher's Weekly Review

Film has long been one of Coover's favorite tropes, used brilliantly in the short story collection A Night at the Movies (1987). His new novel returns to the medium, this time endlessly looping through triple-X porn flicks. Protagonist Lucky Pierre is a porn star buffoon who wanders about Cinecity-the capital of Coover's fictional land-with his penis sticking out of his pants. Cinecity is a porno dystopia where every encounter between man and woman, or for that matter man and animal, or woman and vegetable, is destined to end in sex. The nine "reels" of the novel are dominated by nine different women who are stars, directors and muses. Lucky encounters Cinecity's anti-celebrity guerrilla activists, the Extars, led by Carlotta; gets married in a group orgy to Connie; and is victimized by Cinecity's sadistic mayor, Cora. He suspects that having his penis frozen, falling down an elevator shaft and nearly drowning aren't just filmset accidents, but are actually scripted into an overall film-one in which he is set up as the fall guy. His strategy is to try to find a way out of the film, but in the logic of the novel Lucky himself is merely the embodiment of a film's trajectory, and escape is impossible. The result is a carnival of stasis and penis jokes that shows Coover at his most precious. Some passages are marvels of descriptive prose-fierce, vigorous and pungent-but the endless scenes of torture and smutty closeups are tedious and curiously spiritless, and Coover says little about celluloid culture and movie narratives that he hasn't said elsewhere with more generosity and exuberance. Agent, Georges Borchardt. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Coover, winner of a Lannan Literary Award in Fiction in 2000 and author of Spanking the Maid and Ghost Town, returns with this metafictional romp through a fantastic city where art is the highest form of reality. The title character appears in nine movies whose female directors cast him in diverse sexual roles running the gamut from the creative to the perverse. What will happen when the last reel finishes? Only die-hard Coover fans will tolerate the preponderance of filler to reach the suspenseful conclusion. A meditation on truth and a narrative in the high postmodern style, this book has been done better before by authors such as Coover himself. It is difficult to recommend it for any but the largest collections or those that maintain exhaustive holdings in contemporary fiction. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/02.] Philip Santo, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.