Dreamspinner Press, $17.99, ISBN 978-1-61372-378-4
Contemporary Fiction, 2012
Perry Mangin is an investment banker. He’s pretty good looking, but he also has a charming air of… I guess I can call him somewhat naïve, or perhaps a more accurate description is that he can be clueless in a cute way, sometimes, about sex and dating. He does have some emotional baggage, but that is something that will be revealed as the story progresses. Our protagonist Vin Vanbly meets him one fine day in a trendy San Francisco art gallery, and decides that he would invite Perry into a weekend where Perry would be “kinged”. And yes, you can interpret that any way you want, and you may just be right.
That synopsis sounds coherent, but the truth is, I have read King Perry three times and I am still not sure exactly what it means. Take a look at a snippet from this story – it’s that kind of story.
“This painter knew he was dying. Siren Song is an instruction manual to a man he would never meet. Richard Mangin says ‘Son, it’s pretty fucked out there. The sky is slashed and bleeding, but don’t be alarmed. The purple is everything. Trust the violets, the lavender whirls, the eggplant streaks. Don’t let anyone tell you what kind of man you should be. You are more than flesh; you are swirling light and formless energy.'”
“Yes,” someone says. “I see it.”
We have something about a king searching about his princes who have wandered outside his kingdom, people turning into bears, and other things that have me scratching my head. Vin seems to know and can do everything and anything, and there is a smugness about him that feels off-putting to me. He doesn’t seem like a character, just the embodiment of all the lint gathered in navels of people everywhere who spent way too much time in art galleries pretending to be in possession of some kind of profound wisdom known only to them. As for Perry, I think – I think – he turns into a bear in the end and mud wrestles with Roxxxy Andrews and there’s that.
Me, I would like to pretend that I understand this story completely, and let you all believe that I, too, share the profound knowledge of life and death known to the characters in this story. Unfortunately, I have to confess that I’m not smart enough. Maybe, if I wear a yellow wrap around my head and watch a RuPaul’s Drag Race marathon while eating organic lima beans, I’d see enlightenment and send you my greetings from Eternia and you can call me King Glam?