Title of a novel by American author Poppy Z. Brite.

Basically, the book is a "road movie" kind of story about vampires, drugs, sex (mostly homosexuality or bisexuality), blood, alcohol, New Orleans, more alcohol, and even more homosexuality. Many references to the Goth subculture are also included. But such a book is far from being basic and should never be explained basically. You have to read it to know.

Characters include Nothing (young bisexual vampire), Zillah (Nothing's father, obviously another vampire), Steve and Ghost (maybe the true heroes of the book, but who could talk about heroes in such a book?). Steve and Ghost are also the two members of the rock band Lost Souls?, which was used as the title of the book.

IMHO, this is Poppy Z. Brite's weakest work, and it is still a wonderful novel, a trip I enjoyed to say the least.

Lost Souls is the movie that is the trying to be the next Exorcist. Well, it can keep trying but it will never succeed. The gist of the movie is that this girl that used to be possessed by a demon and has recovered, is now in cases of demonic possession and serial killers. The character who plays the author of books on serial killers and how their minds work, is supposed to be the next to be possessed but I'm not going to ruin the ending for people who have not seen it yet. It has its few good parts but thats about it. So, if you are trying to choose which movie to see, I suggest you see The Exorcist. Seeing this movie was a waste of time and money. This noder was certainly convinced.

Lost Souls was a coffee house/ bookstore/ Internet café that opened in Des Moines, Iowa in the spring of 1997. For the few years that it was open, it was the one decent place to hang out in the social black hole of Des Moines. It drew in an interesting mix of students, hippies, and gloom cookie goths. Unfortunately, it was located in a residential area near Drake University, and the neighbors weren’t keen on having people hanging around and having fun after dark. Those opposed to Lost Souls launched a campaign to get them out of the neighborhood, and were ultimately successful when the owners closed the doors in 1999.

Lost Souls written by Poppy Z. Brite

(this review and criticism contains no spoilers)

Lost Souls was published in 1992, and was Poppy Z. Brite's first novel. It is based on a short story by the title of "The Seed of Lost Souls". A book by that title was indeed published later, and is known as the book about the book (i.e Lost Souls). The Seed of Lost Souls contains the short story itself, but also the story about how 20 year old Poppy managed to get her first novel published

About the story

Lost Souls is written in classical Southern Gothic style (see American Gothic), and is set in Missing Mile, North Carolina (a nonexistant place, afaik), and in New Orleans.

The story itself is that of Ghost and Steve, who play in a goth-rock band called Lost Souls?, Ann, who is a relatively innocent bystander, and Nothing, who isn't. Their roads cross with Zillah, Molochai and Twig, three vampires who are full of themselves and others - in more ways than could possibly be imagined.

All of the mentioned characters get involved in a relatively manic roadtrip, full of petrol burning on near-empty tanks, splattered blood, unevenly distributed gore, sticky sperm, a surprising lack of hangovers (considering the amount of substance abuse), and salty tears.

Oh yes, you heard me. Sperm. And a lot of it: Lost Souls is a very sexual book indeed, with scenes of more or less explicit sex - especially of the homosexual kind - surprisingly tastefully described. Quite interesting that it would take a women to write decent gay soft porn, but there you go.

The book is filled with a "mass" of people. A load of characters you don't get into - they are just part of the general Cure-listening, wrist-slitting, black-makeup-wearing i-want-to-be-individualistic-so-I-dress-in-black-just-like-every-other-individualist-in-the-world crowd, which is what sparks the storyline's fuse: In classic Southern Gothic style, the maladjusted youth set out on a search for something - possibly their souls. Throughout the story, it becomes apparent that Ghost is the only character in posession of such a thing (a soul). Well, with the possible exception of Steve, but he loses his in an unspeakable act. Which, for an unspeakable act, is suspiciously well described.

The verdict

The book has a decent amount of blood and gore-type horror, but it completely failed to catch my interest. The gay softporn, while well written, seemed aimed at a cocooned audience: An audience that has been protected from such horrible things as porn and eroticism. To be quite honest, halfway through the book, I found myself thinking that "hey, If I had been raised in the American South, going to church two times a week, but being protected from seing a single nipple on mainstream television all of my life, learning that gay people are the spawn of the devil, this would actually be quite shocking". But I wasn't, and it wasn't.

The novel's main shortcoming is that it just seems like a maladjusted youth's fantasy. Oh, it is well written, but - without being able to pinpoint why - it fails to uphold the concept of suspension of disbelief. The writer's youthful inexperience shines through, and the actions of some of the characters seem erratic without the erraticness seeming planned - kind of like the book itself, unfortunately.

Poppy, I am sorry. Your writing style is exciting and the pace in the story is good. But if you don't really have something to tell us, then trying is a waste of time - yours for writing it, and ours for reading.

I have been told that Brite's other novels are significantly better than Lost Souls - if this is true, that means they are probably well worth a read. And perhaps it is better to leave Lost Souls for later. I wish I had.

Lost Souls is also a play adapted from the novel by Glenda Suggs, who directed it, too. It was performed between March 26th and 30th at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA.


Flyers: http://www.elizagauger.com/flyer1color.jpg, http://www.elizagauger.com/flyer2color.jpg

LiveJournal: http://www.livejournal.com/community/lost_souls_play/

Website: www.velvetheaven.net

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