‘You Are HERE’
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Published in: May-June 2021 issue.


by Brontez Purnell
Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
180 pages, $15.


IN THE WORLD according to Brontez Purnell, guys throw down half a handle of whiskey before ten in the morning, can’t remember the last time they had fun having sex, and find the task of having to respond to stimuli to be “exhausting.” It’s a world of “jaded, judgmental borderline misanthropes” who end up fucking in “shit-scented public restrooms.” In the world according to Brontez Purnell, most guys are whores.

            The narrator of these mostly first-person stories is an educated, slightly overweight Black man—an “uppity Black faggot”—with an affinity for, to put it delicately, undomesticated sex. More often than not, he just wants to “get fucked good.” Excess is one of the dominant themes here—too many drugs (cocaine, THC, Percocet, benzos, acid, Xanax, “speed-laced bullshit from little baggies”) chased down with “limitless fountains of vodka” and gallons of antibiotics. “Sober fun,” the narrator says, “was damn near an oxymoron.”

            100 Boyfriends is the fourth book by Purnell, who is also a musician, dancer, filmmaker, and performance artist. Indeed, the book is as much a loud, hard-core performance piece as it is a collection of stories: part rant, part stand-up comic routine, part gross-out shtick, part bravura Gen-X aria.

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Philip Gambone, a frequent contributor to these pages, is the author of the recently published As Far As I Can Tell: Finding My Father in World War II (Rattling Good Yarns Press).