Sunday, February 17, 2013

Review of V. Moore's "Youthful Indiscretions" series: "Ten Reams", "Nude and Tattooed", "Illustrated Woman"

V. Moore and her generation should give us all hope for the future of humanity. A promising newcomer, this self-described alt-girl has re-choreographed the traditional mating dance for a new century, and while not exactly reinventing sex itself, brings a refreshing open-mindedness and casual maturity long lacking in many so-called “adult” discussions of the subject. Sex among today’s youth is not some tortured metaphor for life, nor is it some dirty little secret to be euphemized and talked around, set on some ineffably sacred pedestal, closeted, hidden or compartmentalized from the rest of existence. It is what it is, a normal aspect of being, seamlessly integrated into the fabric of everyday reality, to be spoken of as naturally as one speaks of the weather. This trio of short stories—surprisingly good, ultimately rewarding—offers a furtive glimpse into the erotic minds of contemporary twentysomethings—and we are the richer for being allowed to look.

Moore’s stories are understated, realistic, and straightforward. She effectively occupies the minds and bodies of her characters—both male and female—to reveal authentic emotion and internal conflict without resort to florid simile or pretentious homiletic asides. These three tales are loosely interconnected, populated by an extended circle of acquaintances, friends and lovers, easily referencing one another. Each story is a little slice of life, a sharply focused vignette depicting the most seemingly mundane moments of workaday life, mined for their erotic potential. A young man buying office supplies fantasizes about the cute clerk who waits on him (Ten Reams). Another guy waits nervously in a coffee shop for a meeting with his ex (Nude and Tattooed); and later, the ex gives us her side of the story Rashamon-like (Illustrated Woman).  


At its best, Moore’s writing is taut, weightless; unburdened by superfluous ornament. The narrative is succinct and well-organized, flowing with a pleasing natural rhythm. At times though, the texts are troubled with a number of glaring editorial flaws, and the careless bandying about of stale “porn-o-centric” clichés.  (Why must every mention of bodily parts come with the same gratuitous adjectives? Why repeatedly modify anatomical description with words like huge, long, fat, thick, round, throbbing, hot or wet? Why not allow the reader to use some imagination every once in a while?)  


Such easily-fixable concerns aside, after reading each story several times, I must confess myself thoroughly entertained, enlightened, impressed, and pleasantly turned on. Who could ask for better?


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