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The Wrestler's Cruel Study

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The Wrestler's Cruel Study

Current Status:
In Season
Stephen Dobyns

We gave it an A-

Despite its irritating Nietzsche worship, The Wrestler’s Cruel Study is cartoony, gorgeous, and funny. It doesn’t wear labels easily, but it’s more or less about a quest through territory that’s mighty dangerous on many levels. Its ingredients include: a Madison Square Garden wrestler; his search for Rose, his kidnapped fiancée in white; her sister, Violet, who gives compliments like ”I bet you have the prettiest blood”; verbal aerial shots of New York City that give you vertigo; a video of Bluebeard with real people, so that it’s a snuff film. Sounds chaotic, but it’s really not. Stephen Dobyns’ prose pattern of gold coins and chewed human bones is precise and mesmerizing. A-