Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Review of James Wood's "Taking Jennifer"

Here's our first review. I wrote and posted this on Amazon yesterday. Suffice to say, if you don't yet know the erotic writing of James Wood, this book is an excellent place to start learning. 

By the way, I very seldom give out 5 stars. There are just too many of those gushy, phony "shill" five-star screeds out there, to the point that very few readers take them seriously anymore. As a writer myself, I can say that I would far rather get an honest, thoughtful three stars than five fake ones. 

Anyway, enjoy my review of James Wood's "Taking Jennifer," five well-earned stars and all!


Brilliant, Introspective, Character-Driven Erotica

"Art is never chaste. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with those not sufficiently prepared. Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art."

This quote from Pablo Picasso, which appears at the beginning of James Wood's "Taking Jennifer", should be the creed by which all writers of literary erotica live and work. Of course, that greatest of modernist iconoclasts was speaking in sharp reaction to the centuries of cruel censorship and Church-State-sponsored repression in the artistic life of his home country. The nude had been effectively banned in Spanish painting for more than five centuries--only Goya daring to buck the tradition; and even he felt compelled to offer a clothed version of his beautiful "Maja desnuda" in a chaste cloud of diaphanous drapery. (Both versions were subsequently confiscated by the Inquisition and labeled "obscene.") Picasso spoke of artistic courage, pride and daring; of artists who do not apologize for their vision, or water down their work in order to please some vaguely imagined audience of prudes. That bold spirit is very much evident today in the erotic writing of James Wood.

"Taking Jennifer" is the second entry in Wood's "Erotic Stories of Domination and Submission" series. Set in the author's familiar North-American fantasy-metropolis of Grand Falls--a scintillatingly cosmopolitan place to be sure--this taut, well-crafted story offers a new scenario from the surprisinly introspective point of view of a passionate female submissive.

The language of this story is never effusive or pretentious; but reminiscent of the finest chamber music, intimate, logical, transparent, without a single note out of place, nor a syllable wasted. Wood has a keen eye for the most exquisite, often unexpected details; who knew, for instance, that the fluting on an upholstered couch could be an aphrodisiac in and of itself? Who but the most acutely observant story-teller would write something like, "she felt his touch as if he were reading Braille upon her body . . ." This is inspired writing.

But the true epiphany to be experienced here is in the author's probing, poignant exploration of his heroine's deepest thoughts and feelings as she suffers the agony of anticipation--more painful than her master's physical disciplines--the long minutes of waiting which seem to her an eternity of unrequited need. Or this;

"It was a strange feeling, offering her wrists up. She always felt the emotion in black and white; it was how it appeared in her dreams . . . The black. The darkness of surrender, the abyss of lost control. When she stepped off that cliff and fell into its depths she felt light and free and hollow. The weightless white. And into the shell that surrender created was poured the hot blood of desire."

This is extraordinary prose by the standards of any genre. With "Taking Jennifer," James Wood has written the kind of story with the power to inspire a generation of talented, courageous erotic authors. Why should this genre, so steeped in the intricacies of deep human emotions, be left to the hacks? "Taking Jennifer" is recommended without reservation.

1 comment:

  1. Occurs to me that it would be helpful to have a link accompanying the review: