Author: Alan Bennett
Published: 2010, 2011 (Forelake Ltd.)
That’s what I thought after I read this whole book in one sitting last Saturday when I was bored and depressed and anxious to go SOMEwhere without getting out of my bed. …Sort of my default setting to start a new book. If the book is good, I can breathe again. If the book is bad, I go to sleep at like 7pm to escape it all.
This one was made up of two stories about sex, each at the wee bare minimum of being a novella, both blunter than I thought they would be. Never trust a book jacket, kids. But they were good stories, especially the one about the old lady who earn money through pretending to be sick for medical students and then later taking on renters who suggested she watch them have sex in lieu of them paying rent. It wasn’t her idea to begin with but she ended up liking it, and her transition was about as unadorned as the first clause of this sentence. It was funny and odd and with a nice little setup but none of the faux-innocent sheen I was expecting that would’ve pushed it to unapologetically hilarious. It couldn’t decide whether it wanted me to feel uncomfortable or not.
That definitely colored the story about the young man whose worst kept secret was that he was gay. Everyone knew, even as he married a lady, but nobody told anyone else. Again, the transitions between his lives weren’t handled with any of the sort of delicacy that I imagine would be really important in the actual situations.
Neither of these stories is pure smut meant only for physical gratification, or completely high-minded lit fic that uses sad, desperate sex to teach Lessons About Life and Love. This book got me past my Saturday blues but it kept me unsettled.
…As do the teacups on the cover. I think they’re supposed to be fucking.