Strange and unsettling stories of sadomasochism (originally
self-published) from a newcomer who obviously knows the territory.
Most literary depictions of the S&M scene simply aim for
titillation, but Wald's approach, while hardly demure, seems more
ambitious. Her characters - usually young, ordinary suburbanites
from Middle America - become Masters or Slaves the way other
teenagers become rock climbers or Rangers fans, and the real
measure of her success is her ability to make the bizarre and
highly perverse subculture of the dungeons seem comprehensible and
almost normal from an outsider's point of view. In "The Houseboy,"
for example, a perfectly unremarkable high-school senior becomes so
obsessed by an Army recruiter (and intelligence operative) that he
travels to New York and invents an excuse to move in with him as a
kind of au pair; in "Turned Out," a recently sprung excon finds
himself unable to cope with the freedom of a life without
constraints. The dominatrix in "Therapy," who finds herself beaten
at her own game by her shrink, is one of the less convincing
characters here, as is the Catholic schoolgirl of "Resolution," who
runs away with a circus to lose her sexual inhibition and discovers
herself in the process. For the most part, however, these stories
are inhabited by thoroughly credible characters whose peculiarities
serve to inspire curiosity rather than boredom or disgust - such as
the college girl of "Missing the Boat," whose interest in S&M
seems to proceed from an overwhelming sense of her own boredom
unrelieved by any sense of her own identity. Remarkable and
fascinating, if somewhat crudely drawn. Wald writes with a
simplicity and frankness that are unusual but perfectly suited to
her subject. (Kirkus Reviews)
A subtle, beautifully crafted collection, MEETING THE MASTER introduces an accomplished new author whose lyrical economy and ability to see the erotic in everyday life make her a true pleasure to read. Elissa Wald's characters embody a wide variety of voices - gay men, bi- and heterosexual women of all ages - and she presents them all with precision and an unusual clarity of vision.
Provocative explorations of the pleasures and rituals of dominance and submission, the voyeuristic and darkly seductive stories in MEETING THE MASTER reveal an experience with life and a penetrating wisdom far beyond the author's years.
|Country of origin:
||197 x 126mm (L x W)
||Paperback - B-format
Genre fiction >
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