Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-04-20
- Reviewer: Staff
Andrews (Southern Comfort) offers a provocative collection of prose poems in which gender roles are swapped and women rule on a fantastical island. This is a place where the women look like Angelina Jolie, young boys play with Boberto dolls, men earn $0.70 for every dollar women make, and “the hardworking woman is forever in search of the ideal whip.” The lovelorn narrator, a man who has left the otherwise unnamed island, leads a multifaceted tour through his own memories and island culture. The tales all have titles that are variations of “On the Island Where I Come From,” echoing Joe Brainard’s “I Remember,” but with a tropical twist. In this alternate universe, men go through painful hair-removal procedures, intense to the point of becoming a kind of “spiritual practice, a preparation for sex and death”; they buy only the latest fashions, tattoo their penises, and work out incessantly. When men’s wings sprout in adolescence, they stanch the blood with pads, not unlike a strange kind of angelic and masculine menstruation. Women, in contrast, are aggressive catcallers, and they grope young boys, checking—a male narrator recalls from experience—to see if “my fruit was ripe.” Andrews comically upends gender expectations with surprisingly profound results. (May)