About this book
Shortlisted for a Lambda Literary Award (gay debut fiction)
Shortlisted for a ReLit Award (best novel)
SHUCK (noun): the outer covering of a nut or of an ear of corn; the shell of an oyster or clam; something of little value
SHUCK (verb): to peel off (as in clothing)
Shuck is the intense, dazzling diary of Jaeven Marshall, a quasi-homeless hustler who seeks his fame and fortune in New York, where he tries to manage his reputation as the city's porn star du jour when he's not dumpster diving, tweaking, or trying to get published. As his dreams of becoming a literary star grow dim, and when his love affair with a moody painter becomes hopelessly messy, he tries to reconfigure his life by documenting obsessive lists from found trash, and by hustling, which steals little pieces of his body and scatters them all over the city.
Shuck is a remarkable peep show of a novel about what binds artists and prostitutes, and the collateral damage that happens when they try to recover what they have lost.
Now in its second printing!
is fantastic fun to read. Assured and accomplished, Shuck
is also chock-full of anarchic delights: loopy lists, acerbic asides, bursts of poetic description. And sex! It's so exciting to come across such a sensational book.
―Derek McCormack, author of The Haunted Hillbilly
In his novel Shuck
, Daniel Allen Cox gives us Jaeven Marshall, the bastard love-child of Dennis Cooper and Jim Carroll. He's a hustler, self-abuser, wannabe diarist, and aspirant to the dubious title of 'Boy New York'. You'll regret getting to know him, but you'll wish he were in your bed.
―Hal Niedzviecki, author of The Program
and Hello, I'm Special
Daniel Allen Cox writes truthfully and elegantly about a New York that I knew very well and that I miss very much. Set in the late 1990s, his novel Shuck describes with great clarity and verve the last gasp of a gritty Manhattan just before the war with the Eskimos, a bygone era that existed before wealth and privilege strangled the sweet life out of street life.
Bruce LaBruce, director of Otto; or, Up with Dead People
It's an exhilarating read; Cox has managed to make the seediness and occasional brutality of this world downright glamorous, recreating the New York of this time with eerie precision.
A startling debut novel.... A distinctive coming-of-age story that poses thoughtful questions about the relationship between sex work and the creative process. A novel worth reading - for writers, whores, and everyone in between.
Quill and Quire
The character Jaeven is shrewd, calculating, and utterly captivating. Like a male Holly Golightly, he manages to twist everyone around his little finger with a wink and a smile-or maybe a smirk and a pout.... Shuck
is definitely a page-turner, which will surely make it a popular hit.
Black Heart Magazine
, these supposedly diametric opposites [of writer and whore] have met, made out and created a gay porn lovechild that references Dennis Cooper, JT LeRoy and the Marquis de Sade.
is a novel that you think you're listening to with earbuds on a semi-long, semi-hard bus ride. You like to hear about dirty sex, especially from a stranger because deep down you like to think that we are all hilarious dirty strangers.... It is suddenly something you can't live without.
Cox deftly renders his non-traditional subject matter aesthetic and meaningful: porn shoots are predicated on relationships of power, bruises are beautiful, and discarded objects are emblems of cultural experience.... Shuck
is a meditation on art and eroticism and commodity, and a document of sexual and psychological awakening.
Montreal Review of Books
An invigorating first novel....Cox's New York City has an off-hand, vibrant authenticity. It glitters and fumes.
The Globe and Mail
Hustler novels aren't as ubiquitous as coming out novels in the canon of young queer writers, but they are often just as indistinguishable one from another. Not so with Cox's compact and bracingly original depiction of Jaeven Marshall, a charismatic boy for hire who can pirouette on a dime, or preferably a few hundred dollars, from pretty naif with a pout to jaded, do-it-all sex toy.
Cox's tone, style and blunt depictions are similar to [Chuck] Palahniuk's. This does not suggest Cox's writing is derivative. Palahniuk - love him or hate him - is a contemporary force when it comes to brawling, bare-knuckled fiction these days. Cox, though, is a more compassionate writer - maybe it's the Canadian in him.
The Danforth Review
From violent johns to literary rejection letters, Shuck
is unwavering in its portrayal of getting eaten slowly, but surely, by New York City's Big Apple.... The diary entries are reminiscent of Jim Carroll's Basketball Diaries.
It explores addiction, sexuality, and the part of New York City that isn't advertised.
(Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, et al)
Cox is a brilliant storyteller. He's able to reduce human emotion into hot shots of truth that singe the guts and set heads to shaking. Dirty and glorious, Shuck
is definitely a fun read.
The author himself is a former porn star who lets us peer deeply into a bizarre world--not through a clear lens, but through a kaleidoscope.... [Shuck
] never fails to entertain.
Its sex-worker authorship yields a work that is as exceptional as it is sensational. Shuck
's read is simple, yet compelling and provocative.
Cox is a very detailed writer, adding the most interesting nuances into his writing.... Shuck
is a fantastic, quick-paced book that will have you laughing, cringing and hoping that something will happen for [main character] Jaeven.
Alternately brutal and witty, Shuck
is an episodic book, en exhilarating ride in which the protagonist performs a kind of wistful eulogy for the seediness of the pre-Giuliani Manhattan.... As Shuck
draws to a close, the author subtly points to a rethinking of our culture's larger attitudes towards sex workers. That Cox manages to convey these larger ideas without heavy-handedness makes Shuck
one of those rare books that has both ample brains and raunchy sex appeal.
Gay and Lesbian Review
Jaeven may prove a capricious, unreliable narrator, but he's also a one-man tour de force.... Cox has opted to give his hustler a heart beneath his gruff exterior; the cocky man becomes a quivering, broken boy in the space of a page.... Already shortlisted for a Lambda Literary Award, Cox's novel is an astute examination of New York City's urban underbelly, as seen through the eyes of a fallen, wounded, but not flightless young bird of prey.
Bay Area Reporter
Cox takes narrative structure, smacks it around ... hogties it, pulls its pants down and spanks its tuchus until it's as red as Rudolph's nose.... Perhaps the only thing that can really be said about Shuck
is, one can only hope Daniel Allen Cox ends up being a very prolific writer.
Gay People's Chronicle
This is Breakfast at Tiffany's
if Chuck Palahniuk had written it.... Pornographers, players, artists, Duran Duran, Fiorucci, fuckups, and degenerates fill Shuck
with a kinetic energy that tastes like sugar but burns like battery acid.
was deservingly nominated for a 2009 Lambda Literary Award and will transport you back to the peep show that used to be glorious New York.
Richard Burnett, Hour
(Montreal) and Current
Readers' experiences of the book will match Jaeven's experience of the world: fragmented, funny, harrowing, and humbling, with bursts of found poetry that transform the mundane world into a place of fleeting beauty.
A great new voice to add to gay literature.
InsightOut Book Club
Explores the disconnect between love and sex through the eyes of a young hustler... Shuck
is sexy and sad, a fast read with a lingering aftertaste.
At once a love letter to chaos and a revelation of trauma − in short, resilience through language. I highly recommend.
feels like a true story ... An amazing read. Highly recommended.
Mundane Spiritus Mundi