Article – approximately 4,250 words.
Poppy Z. Brite’s Exquisite Corpse is not a book for the faint of heart. Full of dark, vivid imagery, it paints a portrait of the shadowy underworld very few of us will, thankfully, ever see. The main setting is New Orleans, where old-world charm coexists with the neon lights of modern day, and which lends itself to the excesses typically found in Bakhtin’s idea of carnival. From the overall role-reversal of carnival to the parts played by masks, food and drink, and the imagery of the grotesque image and grotesque speech, author K.J. Pierce explores Exquisite Corpse through the skewed lens of carnival, briefly exploring examples of each in the novel.