Wednesday 4 January 2023

Book Review: Boy Parts by Eliza Clark (LGBT Contemporary Fiction)

Title: Boy Parts
Author: Eliza Clark
Publisher: Influx Press
Publication Date: 2020
Pages: 297
Format: Paperback
Genre: LGBT Contemporary
Source: Birthday Gift
Irina obsessively takes explicit photographs of the average-looking men she persuades to model for her, scouted from the streets of Newcastle.

Placed on sabbatical from her dead-end bar job, she is offered an exhibition at a fashionable London gallery, promising to revive her career in the art world and offering an escape from her rut of drugs, alcohol, and extreme cinema. The news triggers a self-destructive tailspin, centred around Irina’s relationship with her obsessive best friend, and a shy young man from her local supermarket who has attracted her attention…

Boy Parts is the incendiary debut novel from Eliza Clark, a pitch-black comedy both shocking and hilarious, fearlessly exploring the taboo regions of sexuality and gender roles in the twenty-first century.


Boy Parts was a book I received as a birthday gift last month, before which I had never heard of it. After checking out the blurb, it looked like my sort of read, and overall I did find it interesting. A quick way to think of this book would be to imagine it as a modern take on American Psycho; although it's not 100% the same it's a similar vibe in several ways. As the blurb suggests, the work considers various themes including gender roles, class division and abuse in several forms, and the author approaches these in a frank manner. The blurb describes the book as a black comedy, but I think that depends on how you choose to interpret it. For me, the story wasn't as extreme as I'd expected from the premise -- nothing really shocked or horrified me -- but other readers may need to approach with caution if they are likely to be upset by things such as graphic violence and depictions of abusive behaviour. This was a thought-provoking work, but not one I'd feel the need to return to a second time. I am therefore giving it 3.5 stars.

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