Gorging Out: A Novel
It is 1988, and Roger is asked by his dying aunt to locate Fritz, his missing cousin. As a child, Fritz exhibited disturbing behaviors. His mother now suspects that her son is involved in something even more dangerous. Roger reluctantly agrees to search for the cousin that he hates. Robert MacNeill’s book Gorging Out is presented as Roger’s record of the events written in a notebook located in a safe deposit box. His attorney is making the records public, in case the police link him to the investigation. Roger’s quest takes him upstate New York, in Ithaca, at Cornell . He winds up in the world of academia, trying to find out more information on Fritz’s thesis project. Titled “Creativity and Sexual Behavior,” the research looks at men who have sex with women after finding their contact information on bathroom walls. The women tape-record the intimate sessions. Roger feels that Fritz is using this scholarly opportunity to carry out his bizarre fantasies. When the tapes are stolen and one of the women ends up “gorging out” (jumping off of a suspension bridge into the gorge below), the mystery thickens.
The dialogue is fast-paced and moves the story along quickly. Dead bodies keep turning up just when Roger connects them to the mystery. Roger is an interesting character. As he condemns men who treat women poorly, he does it in his own life. His attitude towards his soon to be ex-wife becomes threatening and vengeful. At times, the plot seems far-fetched. Why would these women sleep with all these men? MacNeill provides some explanations – Fritz convinced them it was for science, he paid them well, it was 1988, and AIDS wasn’t much of a concern. It seems as if the author thought up a bizarre idea for a thesis topic and then constructed a novel around the concept. It is an entertaining and unique story.
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