Thursday March 6, 2008

South Beach: The Novel. Based on real life people (Diddy! Paris! Versace!) in thinly veiled fictionalizations.

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  1. swampthing    Thu Mar 6, 09:29 PM #  

    known Antony for 15 years. haven’t read new book but did crash his vip book-house-party where at about 15minutes past midnight a not-so-subtle-party-is-over air dampened the oh-so-sobe fabulousity. I hear his sister is hot.



  2. Steve    Thu Mar 6, 10:32 PM #  

    I read and reviewed his first book, Paradise Overdose, for the Sun-Sentinel almost 15 years ago. I can’t remember exactly why I thought it was featherweight garbage (and I can’t find the review in my sloppy mildewed paper files), but I remember thinking (sourly) that he’d probably re-enact his crime against serious fiction sooner or later. Turns out I’m right — and fortunately for all of us, it was “later.”



  3. alesh    Thu Mar 6, 11:11 PM #  

    wow.

    anyway, I’m way off on the Diddy/Paris thing, as the novel is set in the 90s, and in any case the Herald and Sentinel have been all over the book, as have others. In other words, nevermind.



  4. vicequeenmaria    Sat Mar 8, 01:46 AM #  

    Brian’s brother, Robert, is a fantastic, award-winning magical realism novelist. I took creative writing classes from him in grad school. They’re quite an eclectic family.



  5. Eye Witness    Sat Mar 8, 08:44 AM #  

    Yeah, its easy to be eclectic when you are living on a trust fund.



  6. I was there    Sat Mar 8, 09:13 AM #  

    I heard him read a bit of the new book at the Rubell Family Collection.
    It’s worse than garbage, at least garbage is interesting.
    Also, I lived and worked on South Beach during the 90s, and it was boring hype filled shit hole. Madonna, Versace and Ingrid Casares?! gimme a fucking break!
    Antoni eats himself and regurgitates a “novel”
    Hemmingway he ain’t.



  7. Victor Regan    Thu Mar 20, 01:06 PM #  

    The New York Times Book Review gave South Beach: The Novel by Brian Antoni a full page rave review. All you haters are just jealous because you wish you wrote the book.



  8. Eye Witness    Fri Mar 21, 12:59 PM #  

    They also published rave reviews of James Frey and that South-Central gang poser.
    Sorry, they have lost their credibility.



  9. Victor Regan    Sun Mar 23, 03:27 PM #  

    Hey Eye Witness,

    What has credibility? You? And Why?



  10. Victor Regan    Sun Mar 23, 03:33 PM #  

    By HENRY ALFORD New York Times Book Review
    Published: March 9, 2008
    Many are the sparkly charms of the opera. The live camels, the castrati. The preoccupation with the world’s oldest profession. The implication that narrative gathers its force from the combined efforts of caterwauling and wig tape. The plots that are not unleavened by coincidence and melodrama. The assertion that overweight people, when dying, brim over with song.

    SOUTH BEACH

    The Novel.

    By Brian Antoni.

    289 pp. Black Cat/Grove/Atlantic. Paper, $13.

    “South Beach: The Novel,” Brian Antoni’s candy-colored and warmhearted second work of fiction, would make a terrific opera. Though “South Beach” isn’t camp — it lurks in the wings thereof, its bejeweled turban only slightly askew — it revels in a kind of surface detail that might easily be mistaken for it. Rich with club scenes and descriptions of offbeat forms of physical congress, this story of one man’s moral and sexual flowering might best be described as an arrested bildungsroman with a predilection for the psycho-sexual; indeed, this is likely to be the only book written this year to contain the sentence: “He licked and he licked and he licked as he thought, This is where I belong.”

    Handsome, 29-year-old Gabriel Tucker is a responsibility-free heterosexual trust-funder and orphan. When his uncle commits suicide, Gabriel suddenly finds himself penniless except for his interest in a lovely old Miami Beach apartment building called the Venus de Milo Arms. Gabriel moves into the money pit, where he fights off the advances of speculators and the wrecking ball. Concurrently, the heretofore feckless hottie is swept up in the emotional vortex of the building’s residents and hangers-on: Marina, a MacArthur genius-grant-awarded artist who doles out to Gabriel generous amounts of hot-and-cold; Miss Levy, a Holocaust survivor who dresses in English mod go-go tights and keeps cans of tuna and stolen packets of sugar under her bed “just in case”; Pandora, a mute transvestite desperate for money for her sexual reassignment surgery; Skip, a gossip columnist with AIDS who refers to fashion models as “garnish” and “parsley”; and Jesus, a Cuban hustler who will wash ashore on a raft, only to be rescued by the famous fashion designer Salvatore Fabrizio, a Gianni Versace stand-in who, before turning Jesus into an overnight modeling sensation, will cleanse the refugee’s sunburned face with Pellegrino in his chauffeured limo.

    If Antoni’s characters suggest an effort to portray one of each of Miami’s demographic sectors — artist, check; Cuban refugee, check; person with AIDS, check; old duffer, check — that is because he means the book to encapsulate the social makeup of a city he clearly loves: “Miami Beach had been the place where neon went to die and now it had become the place where neon went to be born again. Miami Beach had been a place where old people came to die, and now the young also came to die, from AIDS. It had also become a place where all ages came to be reborn, to remake themselves. In Miami Beach there was a feeling that you could be whatever you wanted to be.” In other words, this is “South Beach: The Novel,” not “South Beach: A Novel.”

    What saves this schematic approach from sinking the book is the author’s vivid imagination. Two of the art happenings that Marina stages in an abandoned swimming pool behind the Venus are very memorable, as are scenes of sexual humiliation involving house paint and chocolate. You can’t fault this author for not going far enough — this is, after all, a book in which the prize awarded at one restaurant’s monthly raffle is the removal of a concentration camp tattoo. Henry Alford is the author of “Big Kiss” and “Municipal Bondage