152 pages
ISBN 978-1-55152-246-3
DDC C813'.6





Reviewed by Ian C. Nelson

Ian C. Nelson is Assistant Director of Libraries at the University of


Daniel Allen Cox—author and columnist for Capital Xtra—has posed nude (notably for the cover of Inches) and had a two-year career as a high-end escort and a star in the New York porn industry (College Cocks 101 and Brooklyn Meat Company). In an interview he noted he “has not really ruled out a return” to that career. He is the author of the novella Tattoo This Madness In, which, with its themes of masturbation and sexual pleasure amongst rebellious Jehovah’s Witnesses, won him success and notoriety. He currently lives in Montreal, where his book launch of Shuck was called “Unzip 101: The Fine Art of Shucking Your Pants.” He writes about what he knows, and all one can say is: move over John Rechy! Daniel Allen Cox is brilliantly ready and equipped to take on your mantle.


Jaeven Marshall, the protagonist of Shuck, who appears to be a literarily enhanced alter ego of the author, peels off his clothes and peels back his skin to reveal the complex and seething body beneath. He is a writer and performance artist (of various specialized talents) desperately seeking love, adoration, and publication in pre-Y2K New York: a moment the author brilliantly captures in his distorted freeze-frame. Drugs and low self-esteem of course enter the mix and frequently reduce “Boy New York” to a recitation of bizarre lists of found objects and raisons d’être which are mesmerizingly evocative of his chaotic life. His journal takes us on a Coney Island sideshow of his porn star ascendancy, where “hustling steals little pieces of your body and scatters them all over the city and … you have to summon every last bit of energy to rematerialize into something whole again.”


Cox magnificently rematerializes the detritus of this fascinating car wreck of a semi-fictional life. The journal resembles Rechy’s Numbers in its grittiness and Charles Simmons’s Powdered Eggs in its literary savvy. Shuck was nominated for a 2009 Lambda Literary Award. Highly recommended.


Cox, Daniel Allen., “Shuck.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 26, 2024,