The Cheerful Scapegoat
If I knew what the snow fell on, I could triumph over the current political regime, which has its own perverse style of landing on surfaces; this regime falls on my body with the ambiguous force of a milkshake spilling on a diner floor.
I am not a milkshake, so I don’t have the power to spill; I can collaborate with milkshakes by drinking them or making them, but I can’t incarnate a milkshake.
Sheila, however, knew how. […]
In his first book of short fiction—a collection of whimsical, surreal, baroque, ribald, and heartbreaking “fables”—Wayne Koestenbaum takes the gloom and melancholy of our own terrifying political moment and finds subversive solace by overturning the customary protocols of tale-telling. Characters and narrators wander into strange locales; the difference between action and thinking, between reality and dream, grows moot in a heightened yet burlesque manner. The activities in The Cheerful Scapegoat are a cross between a comedy of manners and a Sadean orgy. Language has its own desires: figures of speech carry an erotic charge that straddles the line between slapstick and vertigo. Punishment hangs over every dialogue—but abjection comes with an undertaste of contentment. The tchotchkes of queer culture—codes and signifiers—get scrambled together and then blown up into an improbable soufflé. [publisher’s note]