Nightwood Editions 5.5 x 8.5 – 256 pages Paperback – $21.95 October 2013
John Rottam is on a journey back in time and place. Fleeing a private stripping engagement turned violent, he reflects on a time in his life when he was burdened with a broken heart, self-doubt and a floundering dance career. A few clumsy steps in the corps de ballet of a prestigious Canadian ballet company sends John fleeing to join a psychotic and incompetent dance troupe in Quebec City, run by the bitter Madame Talegdi, who all but destroys his dream of a legitimate career.
Stifled by the walls of Old Quebec, limited French, and dwindling finances, John seeks out the feathers and sequins of the Chez Moritz nightclub, for a last shot at doing a little of what he loves, on the condition that he strips as well as dances. John’s fall from grace eventually lands him in a road house freak show, where he struggles to find love and a meaningful life amidst alcohol, deception, abuse and exploitation. When the show folds, John is forced to move on, confront his uncertain future and come to terms with his disturbing past.
His final strip-tease becomes a haunting dance of desire, revulsion, insight and, ultimately, redemption. Strip is the unsettling, yet deeply inspiring, second novel from Andrew Binks.
“⎯the great Canadian gay novel.”
George K. Ilsley, Plenitude Magazine
“Strip reads like a boy version of Zoe Whittall’s queer classic Bottle Rocket Hearts.”
Shawn Syms, Quill & Quire
“Strip delivers a detailed portrait of the physical and emotional perils facing a performing artist.”
Michelle LeDonne, The Bull Calf Review
“Readers…should prepare themselves for one of the most wrenching, devastating and deeply affecting endings they’ll find in any work of contemporary fiction.”
Mark Sampson, Free Range Reading