The Exquisite, an "East Village Noir" by Laird Hunt (Coffee House Press)

The Exquisite, an "East Village Noir" by Laird Hunt (Coffee House Press)

THE EXQUISITE is not so much a mystery as mysterious. One of the things that first attracted me in an electric way when I was reading it in manuscript form was Tulip, an ethereal sort of love interest who is at once central to the story told by narrator Henry and completely elusive: "Tulip. Sitting close and spinning. For a second she looked a little like a pale yellow pinwheel, like the retinal afterimage of a fizzling golden firework. Only she was wearing gray and had on one of those aviator's hats, which completely covered her blond hair and set her eyes to sparking and crackling, so that what I should have been seeing in the money end of my smiles was something opalescent, azure, electric blue." (p. 12) What is she all about? Is it ever really clear? Attention David Lynch, Godard, Bowie, Cindy Sherman fans: this strange and inviting book will drive you crazy in the best way.