Lyric and tender one moment, cruel and dizzying the next, The Exquisite Corpse neither celebrates perversity nor laments it; rather it projects it as part of man’s never-ending search for a true self and for transcendent communion with others.
In forty-nine brief, highly cinematic chapters, we meet a series of twisted but sincere searches—Tomtom Jim and his naked, hungry family; Mary Poorpoor and her utterly “otherly” baby; angry John Doe and his sex slave, James Madison—each in flight from despair. As one surreal episode morphs into the next, these searchers change shape and their journeys change direction; names and identities come and go, storylines collide, and desires intertwine, all with the lightning-quick illogic of a dream. The result is a tragicomic tour de force, an upside-down roadmap to everyone’s inner Sodom, a perversely moral (and morally perverse) masterpiece by a modern-day Marquis de Sade.
Sometimes brutal and hilariously waspish, but always humane.
—Sam Jordison, Guardian Unlimited (UK)