Picks and Pans Review: As If After Sex

updated 02/13/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/13/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Joseph Torchia

The gay narrator of this absorbing novel shares a San Francisco apartment with a man he picks up in a gym. The pickup is a handsome hustler; the narrator is a writer who records the disintegration of his lover—a I980s-style Dorian Gray. Theirs is a narcissistic world, with mirrors everywhere, in the gym and beside the bed. Growing old is a horror. They live for the moment, and most moments include coke, joints, mescaline, Quaaludes or angel dust. The writing is a swirl of heated prose: "Listen to that drug. It must be doing to you what it's doing to me...the only thing I can hear is the beat of my heart. The expanse of my breath. The rush of my blood. The rivers and crayons and currents of...my mortality." The book does seem overwrought at times, but Torchia, a former San Francisco newspaperman and author of 1980's The Kryptonite Kid, is nonetheless convincing in his depiction of a nightmarish homosexual world in San Francisco. (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, $13.95)

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