A man standing in front of a garden and trees.

John Waters Has Still Got Some New Tricks Up His Sleeve

Seen in his summer stay, Provincetown, Massachusetts, John Waters wears a Paul Stuart blazer and shirt, his own. Photography by Sophie Elgort. Grooming by Ali Scharf. 

When I ask John Waters why it has taken him until this late in history for him to write and publish his first novel, he replies: “Well, there were 16 feature films in there.” There have also been several nonfiction books. (Though he admits “nonfiction” might not be an entirely accurate way to describe his 2014 memoir Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America). So indeed the first surprise about Liarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance is that it is a “debut novel,” as publishing marketing speak would have it, itself. But the real eye-openers in Liarmouth, an uproarious and unrelenting exercise in enchanted invention and shameless perversion, lie on every page. One wishes there were already a portmanteau handy to describe it—“perversion” doesn’t quite work.

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