The Raunch Review: Book 5

Violet Malice has been bogged down with another paper based diet of erotica this week. She has found herself beating faster than usual and necking fluid from the cold tap. Dedicated to finding a bedtime read that blows the windows out and requires at least two fire engines to battle the blazing mons pubis. Violet’s weekly adult book review attempts to answer that dank and seedy question: can a good book ever be as honest as a good fuck?

Happiness Bastard
Happiness Bastard by Kirby Doyle

Book title: Happiness Bastard
Author: Kirby Doyle
First published: 1968

THE RAUNCH REVIEW: Violet’s Verdict

Quick synopsis: Poet Kirby Doyle’s only published novel is a stream of consciousness, much like Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Written on one massive piece of paper formed of lots of normal sized pieces of paper taped together. Obviously, the published version has pages – what a bore! According to the author the book was written on a trip that “my lover post-wife and I took to New York in 1959-1960.” Kirby is, one can only assume, the narrator Tully McSwine and his girlfriend is Dolly, who is needless to say always up for it. It goes without saying that the book is very ‘Beat Generation’ so very hard to follow, there’s no real plot line and the writing certainly reflects Kirby’s own struggle around that time with drug addiction, poverty and unhappy affairs of the ticker.

Front cover: Not the original printing by Essex House sadly. A really rubbish modern edition (2020) that looks like someone/Amazon has faxed it to Pluto and then it’s been photocopied and run over by a lorry full of shit. The front and back photos of the author are so grainy you have to be about two miles away for the pixels to come together.

Title: Bloody fantastic! A massive fan of the word bastard, both visually and orally. Swear words in titles are not utilised enough in my humble opinion. Much like my previous thoughts on Bondage Trash from last week, the two words Happiness Bastard writhe against each other. Kick each other in the bollocks. Like a bleach blonde oxymoron trying to get it on with Claude Lévi-Strauss.

Best two-word phrase/s in the book: A few to get you going:

liberal sphincter, sex heads, fat rubber, cellophaned taste, clinical pornography, genital windows, padlocked vagina, punctured prostitute, sadist cocksmen, gummy wad, electric paralysis, skin mag, urinatory fashion.

Best dialogue in the book: Like holding a mirror up to the queue in Greggs:

“Love! Ha, ha, love! I like that! Love my ass, you bastard! Why all you know of love is that it makes you twitch between your legs! Don’t talk to me of love, you walking erection!” 

“I told this idiot that I couldn’t bear it when they airbrushed the cunt away in these skin mags, and he said it wasn’t airbrushed, only shaved and her cunt was too far under to see the slit. What kind of crap is that, I ask you? Makes me wonder if this infant has ever seen a twat at all. Ha!” 

Phoning me in the middle of one icy winter afternoon to ask, “Have you any idea what Kitty’s doing right now?” and I, fearful of his hysteria and bewildered, answering, “No, what’s she doing now?” and he, like an over-intelligent schoolboy hot with the answer, “Sucking my cock, you son of a bitch… goodbye.”

“How would you like to take a flying fuck at a rolling donut?”

“I masturbate everyday. Eef I am eating a meal at night and remember that I have not masturbated I will stop my eating and masturbate then.”

Best sentence/s in the book: Some real meat on the bones here:

Dolly was the proud possessor of a remarkably elastic cunt, especially if the engagement was a particularly heated one (that is, when I was at my best). 

All of them a bunch of sexual cripples, which they will sternly prove by fucking at the drop of a political sympathy. 

Sliding the fingers of both hands into her cunt, which by this time was as easy as sliding into a bathtub full of vaseline, I could, by pulling the lips away from each other even more than the mechanics of her vaginal excitement had already done (as if I were trying to invert it), stretch her snatch out to an expansion where I could fit it over my face from eyebrows to chin like a hot meaty mask, and were it only detachable I could have marched in the Halloween parade. 

When this seismic phenomenon threatened to scatter her in bloody bits and pieces about the room I slipped my forefinger into her ass and rammed it to the knuckle… O Good Ladies and Gentle Men, need I tell you that she came neigh unto shitting all over me? 

Prance she would and tend to domestic trivialities nakedly… cook a full meal in the raw… breasts dangling over the bubbling spaghetti… the cruel lewdness of her pubic hairs level with the salad… while with a feigned tone of “modern liberality” she threw out maddening little comments: “I so think it’s wonderful not wearing clothes… so free… let the air into every little pore… so much more natural, don’t you think?” then turn and show me her buttocks as she bent to the bottom rack of the refrigerator seeking vegetables. 

She kept what she liked to think of as a secret list of ex-lovers that she sadly enjoyed showing only to people with whom she stoutly refused (I suspect out of fear of making her come) to go to bed with, like me. 

Had an applesauce sandwich for breakfast and a glass of wine too; great, cheap, vinegary wino-type wine that when you puke comes bubbl’n out yer nose and stings a bit. 

I’m not finished yet: Obviously poets make the best writers:

Dolly turned to him and milked a little snake juice from the tits of her tongue. 

A cock in the hand is worth two in the bush.

I sodomised the landlady’s cat in lieu of rent… she got her thing out of it… the landlady… not the cat…

I’ve not had such a good time since dear dead Grandma used to puke on the linoleum and let us kids skate in it. 

The girls were all very homely and intellectually aggressive in a vacuum-packed sort of a way. 

The party was boiling when we arrived, strange-looking people bulging from the windows. 

My belated old grey-haired muff of a mother used to have a in tomb in her womb. My daddy told me so. 

Buy Violet’s chapbook. One lucky person that purchases Violet’s chapbook AND signs up to the mailing list by 18th July 2022 will also receive the warm copy of Happiness Bastard by Kirby Doyle (see picture above, the actual copy), which includes Violet’s page markers. Winner selected at random. Mailing list sign-up here. Buy chapbook here.

Sexual content: It’s not really a sex book per say. Essex House came forward to publish it because no one else would take it on apparently. As such the sex is there but it’s not the main cut and thrust as it were. That aside, the descriptions of sex are funny rather than titillating, which is equally as enjoyable. Sex after all, should be great fun.

Given the desperate nature of the book – the drug abuse and poverty – the tone is hard and bitter tasting but jovial. The sex is tainted by an explicit hatred of women, which sees our frustrated and angry narrator sing the praises of masturbation over sexual intercourse. And later on we find him insisting that the sex will be better because he’s full of hatred. Our unhappy narrator also very much enjoys dressing women up as helplessly insatiable cum sluts. The guy is just down on life – but thankfully whilst he’s down there…

Overall conclusion: 5 out of 10.

Titillation station: Absolutely nothing stirring in the bushes. No foxes. No dogs. Not even a cormorant in a Mackintosh pushing blue marbles into a towel.

Food for thought: Shame about the writing style – stream of consciousness is a big turn off for me. It feels as though it’s close to greatness, mainly because poets that write novels understand the importance of a well crafted image, but sadly it gets lost in all the chaos and sloppy Giuseppe. The book wrestles with language – and kicks against the everyday detritus/injustice/loneliness of life – there’s a beauty in that.

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