Strip by Andrew Binks
first published 2013, paperback
John Rottam is on a journey back in time and place. Fleeing a private stripping engagement turned violent, he reflects on a time in his life when he was burdened with a broken heart, self-doubt and a floundering dance career. A few clumsy steps in the corps de ballet of a prestigious Canadian ballet company sends John fleeing to join a psychotic and incompetent dance troupe in Quebec City, run by the bitter Madame Talegdi, who all but destroys his dream of a legitimate career.
Stifled by the walls of Old Quebec, limited French, and dwindling finances, John seeks out the feathers and sequins of the Chez Moritz nightclub, for a last shot at doing a little of what he loves, on the condition that he strips as well as dances. John's fall from grace eventually lands him in a road house freak show, where he struggles to find love and a meaningful life amidst alcohol, deception, abuse and exploitation. When the show folds, John is forced to move on, confront his uncertain future and come to terms with his disturbing past.
His final strip-tease becomes a haunting dance of desire, revulsion, insight and, ultimately, redemption. Strip is the unsettling, yet deeply inspiring, second novel from Andrew Binks.