Posts filed under ‘erotic’

TREMBLE by TOBSHA LEARNER

 

tremble

I guess it should be no surprise that I really liked Tremble. The book is billed as erotic fantasy, and I am both a keen participant in Sydney’s burlesque scene and long term reader of fantasy novels. So its a match made in heaven me.

Unfortunately no one else in the bookgroup has this combination of interests so Tremble did nothing for them, not even a weakness of the knees, let alone trembling all over.

I thought it was a long shot but I thought maybe they’d go for it in a guilty pleasure sort of a way. I thought it had a chance with them because it was written by a woman, so the sex was all from the woman’s perspective; also a lot of the stories were set in Australia; some were funny; some political; some informed by ancient myths and legends; the perfect brew for my taste so I thought maybe Bookgroupers would find something to enjoy.

Alas I was alone on that island. Badly written, not erotic, weird, too much, some book groupers even complained the sex was stereotypically male oriented . So unhappy were they, that very few read more than couple of stories.

So I guess I cannot recommend it to anyone other than people like me – long term fans of fantasy and burlesque. If you happen to be in that group, quite possibly a group of two, just you and me, this may be the book for you and, maybe you should call me.

Otherwise, based on the reaction of other book groupers i’d have to say stay away – unless you really want to push your boundaries with stories of magical sex, revenge and enchantment set in Sydney, Brisbane, the English countryside and in one case the Falklands war.

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March 20, 2016 at 4:06 am Leave a comment

THE BLOODY CHAMBER by ANGELA CARTER

 

BloodyChamber

The last thing the old lady saw in all this world was a young man, eyes like cinders, naked as a stone, approaching her bed.
Every womans’ dream way to go?

Wiki says

The Bloody Chamber (or The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories) is a collection of short fiction by Angela Carter. It was first published in the United Kingdom in 1979 by Gollancz[1] and won the Cheltenham Festival Literary Prize. All of the stories share a common theme of being closely based upon fairytales or folk tales. However, Angela Carter has stated:

My intention was not to do ‘versions’ or, as the American edition of the book said, horribly, ‘adult’ fairy tales, but to extract the latent content from the traditional stories.[2]

The anthology contains ten stories: “The Bloody Chamber”, “The Courtship of Mr Lyon”, “The Tiger’s Bride”, “Puss-in-Boots”, “The Erl-King”, “The Snow Child”, “The Lady of the House of Love”, “The Werewolf”, “The Company of Wolves” and “Wolf-Alice”.

If you are the kind of reader for whom words like florid, gothic, rich, dark, obscure, over the top and mysterious; generate interest and excitement,  then Angela Carter may be for you. I am one such. if on the other hand you infer from them that the the book is amateurish or old fashioned, trying too hard, or cliched;  then give her a miss.
I loved it for the joy of language. It is full of outlandish and inspired metaphors, similes and adjectives – all the things that have been outlawed from much of modern ‘literary’ fiction.
Count the the number adjectives in the following quote . The only writing of today in which you see such lavish use of adjectives is on the menus of ‘modern australian’ restaurants with their ‘organic, late-picked truss ripened heirloom barossa tomatoes’.
The sharp muzzle of a pretty, witty, naughty monkey; such potent and bizarre charm, of a dark, bright, wild yet worldly thing whose natural habitat must have been some luxurious interior decorator’s jungle filled with potted palms and tame, squawking parakeets
 But she doesn’t just dazzle with an avalanche of descriptors. Sometimes she does it with very few words. In these two cases with  inventive similes, another fabulous time-honoured  literary device now strangely abandoned by the literary although alive and well in football commentary. Going over-the-top as always, she uses two in the one sentence in the second example.
His wedding gift, clasped round my throat. A choker of rubies, 2 inches wide, like an extraordinarily precious slit throat.
He moved softly as if all his shoes had soles of velvet, as if his footfall turned the carpet into snow.

However this wasn’t appealing, or at least not sufficiently appealing, to many bookgroupers. As Wiki pointed out above, the stories are retellings of  fairy tales such as Bluebeard, Puss in boots, vampires,werewolves, and red riding hood. so they are dark and strange. In addition, she was a feminist writer from the seventies so she emphasises the sex blood and death aspects of these stories which means they become even darker and stranger than they were.

Some bookgroupers found this unappealingly obscure and violent, rather than attractively dark and strange. I think these criticisms are fair. If you don’t like the fantastic or the obscure its unlikely to suit you. Particularly towards the back of the book the stories seem to lose structure. The last few stories are a series of remarkable images rather than the coherent stories found in the earlier part of the book. I loved ‘the bloody chamber’, ‘the courtship of mr lyon’ and  and ‘Pusss-in-boots’ after that i felt they progressively dropped off in appeal. Puss-in-boots in particular is a great character and he has some great lines.
Describing the object of his masters desire
She looks out at the Plaza ad the shops shut up, the stalls go down, the night comes on. And that is all the world she ever sees, Never a girl in all Bergamo so secluded except, on Sundays, they let her go to mass, bundled up in black, with a veil on. And  then she is in the company an aged hag, her keeper, who grumps along grim as a prison dinner.
After a big night out gambling and drinking
The pious trot to church already with the little lanterns through the chill fog as we go ungodly rolling home.
At the conclusion of his masters serenade
Then bang! a stern hand pulls the shutters to. And it was as if all the violets in all the baskets of all the flower sellers drooped and faded at once; and spring stopped dead in its tracks and might, this time, not come at all; and the bustle and the busyness of the square, that had so magically quieted for his song, now rose again with the harsh clamour of the loss of love.
She was apparently a well known feminist writer of her day, and if you know that and you try to work it out, some of the feminist messages are strong and cutting. In ‘the snow child’, the count and his wife are an aristocratic and obviously magical couple. They go out riding and he creates the girl of his dreams. Why wouldn’t you if you could?  She immediately hates this creation and quickly conspires to destroy it. Its extremely bizarre and dark, but it does get at something true about the darker desires of men and equally dark jealousies of women, and the way these interact in the lives of  couples.
‘The Erl-King’ is equally bizarre and obscure on the surface. It seems to be about some magical forest king who has trapped a woman as he has trapped numerous birds. All the plants and animals of the forest seem to serve him, but he does not do anything for them in return. They just seem to serve him because he is who he is. It seems like a pretty clear representation of the way some men run their households, and the way some women treat some men, particularly handsome charismatic men.
Although these sorts of messages are there, i’m not sure you would see them if   you hadn’t heard people outline these sorts of arguments and attitudes before. Its not like the stories are just blasting out out an obvious message. If you didn’t know what to look for I think they would just be strange dark stories.
In the end I think its a matter of taste. If you love the fantastic, and you love rich ornamented gothic or Baroque sorts of things, you will probably like Angela Carter. If you prefer neat elegant clean things, you may not.
So I will finish with a  few more quotes to help you decide
Sympathy for a vampire
Now all shun the village below the Château in which the beautiful somnambulist helplessly perpetuates her ancestral crimes.
The baroque forest
There is always something to look at in the forest, even in the middle of winter – the huddled mounds of birds, succumbed to the lethargy of the season, heaped on the creaking boughs and two forlorn to sing; the bright frills of the Winter fungi on the blotched trunks of the trees; the cuneiform slots of rabbits and deer, the herringbone tracks of the birds, a hare as lean as a rasher of bacon streaking across the path where the thin sunlight dapples the russet brakes of last years bracken.
The child raised by wolves (Wolf-Alice) is a buddhist
She inhabits only the present tense, a fugue of the continuous, a world of sensual immediacy as without hope as it is without despair.

 

 

July 23, 2014 at 11:49 am Leave a comment

THEME BOOKGROUP – LOVE

Love is like the bunyip, yeowie, saskwatch, cessnock monster, lochness monster, and the yetti. It is talked about a lot, some people are convinced it exists, some people claim to know what it is like, how it feels, indeed what it is. For example the cessnock monster is thought to be a 12 foot lizard from the pleistocene era.

Like love these creatures also serve a purpose. They make us feel that maybe uncertainty and mystery remains, maybe there is something bigger out there that we are part of, and as with mythological animals there appears to be no certainties about love, just an endless fascination.

Unlike love though these creatures don’t leave us dependent on another person for that feeling of transcendence, so they dont make us so vulnerable to being let down. And most sadly, and most importantly, they don’t physically exist so they don’t stimulate our hormones, they dont create that mysterious cocktail of chemicals that makes us feel different and do and say different things in some people’s presence, such as spend more time on our, appearance.

These are some of the conclusions that your, admittedly somewhat love wary, reviewer speculated upon following the latest bookgroup.

The bookgroup gathered to read out loud about love. it was billed as a slow luxurious soirée during which everyone reads something out loud to the rest of the group that includes the word and/or the concept of love, broadly defined. approx 10 minutes per reading.

bookgroupers read from
C. S. Forester (1937) The Happy Return, the first book in the Hornblower series. this post implied loved could be by men for their boat, their captain and war
hornblower
WH Auden collected poems – If I could tell you and Tell Me the Truth About Love

Drussilla Modjeska – the introduction to Poppy
poppy
The BeatlesHer Majesty and The Love you make is equal to the love you take

Roger McGoughLove Cycle and Lonely Hearts

Helen Garnerthe spare room, about love for a friend and its complexities
spareroom
Rumi – from the collection bridge to the soul – 2 poems, split the sack, which seemed to imply love maybe whatever we say it is, and faint lament of form, which seemed to suggest love is incomprehensible
rumi
Pablo Nerudafable of the mermaid and the drunks, which demonstrates that we dont need to be loved. ode to a beautiful nude, which raises the issue of beauty and how it is different from love, tonight i can write, which shows that love passes and love makes you sadlove
Michael Leunigbllly the rabbit, the love of a child for her pet, and the bottle, which demonstrates what a load of freudian nonsense we often get told about love
leunig
Wikipedia has a great page on love that is worth quoting

Love is any of a number of emotions and experiences related to a sense of strong affection[1] and attachment. The word love can refer to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from generic pleasure (“I loved that meal”) to intense interpersonal attraction (“I love my boyfriend”). This diversity of uses and meanings, combined with the complexity of the feelings involved, makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, even compared to other emotional states.

it has a great list of various types of love and interestingly to me as a thoroughgoing materialist it has a link to the science of love. however, it may not help you find any appropriate readings, whereas the love quotes encyclopedia may. a few examples follow

Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your heart or burn down your house, you can never tell
JOAN CRAWFORD

If love is the answer,
Could you rephrase the question?
LILY TOMLIN

True love is the greatest thing in the world…
except for a nice mutton,lettuce,and tomato sandwich when the muton is cut nice and thin…mmm..
From the movie THE PRINCESS BRIDE

I thought love might be a tough topic for bookgroupers but we had a great discussion although the poems and stories we chose did nothing but confirm our confusion.

Trish couldn’t make it but in an email making her apologies she presciently captured our concerns….

I admit, I am struggling a bit too, I always get
strange looks when I have said in the past, I love this car, I love my
skis, I really love this backpack etc, within a family context I have no
problem with the word love, in the friends, it is harder, yes I love my
friends but the “weight” of the word can sometimes make me uncomfy or
slightly wary…strange.

In saying all this, I would LOVE to be there on sunday but may have to
be at my sister’s whom I love dearly as we leave very early the next
morning from Nowra to go on a holiday which I know I will LOVE. Hope you LOVED your week away..speak soon, LOVE Trish

November 7, 2009 at 12:16 pm Leave a comment

Best American Erotica 2005

Best American Erotica 2005This is what Publisher’s Weekly said about it

Bright’s 12th annual compendium of hot reads makes the perfect lubricious valentine. As usual, she offers her trademarked something-for-everyone mix, which extends well beyond the usual categories of straight/bi/gay….While not all the stories are .. deftly written ….., the collection as a whole stands as a love-letter to humanity, in all its varieties. What Kinsey did for his fellow travelers, Bright does, again, for hers.

well bookgroupers did not agree and we gathered with low expectations.

speaking to people beforehand, the fear was it would be the shortest bookgroup ever, but qu’elle supris as the french might say, we had a very lengthy and entertaining discussion.

in fact the discussion was so interesting, we did not feel the need to stray into religion and politics as we inevitably have in nearly every other bookgroup.

so the book was a paradox. while there was general agreement that the book did not provide much in the way of entertainment, sexiness or good writing, at the same time the book also managed to stimulate a lot of talk.

maybe sara’s sexy food had something to do with it. asparagus, gerkins, eggs, even a good old fondue, and various other foods the internet claims are sexy. it didn’t get us stripping our gear off but maybe did get us talking.

many people were surprised at the explicitness, and porn style of book. i think many of us thought a collection of writing called erotica might spend more time evoking an atmosphere and building up a feeling of expectation rather than going straight to the old in-out as they called it in the clockwork orange, but, as the discussion suggested, maybe thats how it is in this genre. maybe this writing genre is meant for masturbation not just reading. to me the stories were all so much the same and so cliche i thought many of them must have been written by the same author despite the book’s claims to the contrary.

however there were some positives on which bookgroupers agreed
– it maybe provided windows on to other peoples worlds
– it raised the whole question of what is the difference between porn, erotica and other writing, are these distinctions real in any sense, do they matter
– it raised the question of what is sexy and why do we find some things sexy and not others. despite a lengthy discussion of the book, bookgroupers lacked the courage for too much disclosure on personal preferences, but nevertheless we collectively groped for some agreement about what kind of writing might be more sexy than the bulk of the stuff in the book.
– as some of us found one or two of the stories enjoyable, some general agreement was reached that stories that included more description, more characterisation, and at least some attempt to evoke an atmosphere and describe emotions had a better chance of being erotic.

April 24, 2007 at 1:01 pm Leave a comment


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