Monday, October 22, 2012

{review} in praise of older women


I asked her to show me the apartment, but it impressed me only as a blue and green background to her figure, until we came to a huge round bed. Paola let me kiss and hold her, without responding; but when I began to unbutton her dress, she tried to push me away with her elbows and knees. The tight dress frustrated her efforts as much as I did, and at last I succeeded in releasing her breasts, which swelled up as they emerged from the brassiere. Neither of us had spoken, but when my head bent over her white bosom she remarked, with a tinge of malice in her voice, ‘I’m frigid, you know.’ What was I to do, standing against her, with her bare breasts cupped in my hands? ‘I’ve just come from a revolution,’ I declared manfully, but without showing my face, ‘you can’t scare me.’
(I've always wondered where you get sheets for round beds. This is a problem I have with erotica - my mind tends to stray to the practical. You know... How? Why? Good Lord is that even possible?!)

 

This is an odd book - a coming-of-age story with pseudo-autobiographical touches. It is an exploration of the protagonist's sexual development elaborated through vignettes of his experiences - from being a (virgin) pimp to the US Army as a teenager in post-World War 2 Eastern Europe, to his life in the States as a refugee academic after fleeing the Hungarian revolution. 

The protagonist is preoccupied by his lack of sexual experience, a situation he attempts to right by pursuing girls his own age - with a notable lack of success. Perhaps his move towards older women can be viewed somewhat cynically, but his encounters - often a little bizarre, and rarely turning out in his favour - are tenderly described. The protagonist is no fetishist.
This book is addressed to young men and dedicated to older women – and the connection between the two is my proposition. I’m not an expert on sex, but I was a good student of the women I loved, and I’ll try to recall those happy and unhappy experiences which, I believe, made a man out of me.
Praiseworthy (!) lines: "But I worked hardest of all studying Latin. For some reason I was convinced that I would never amount to anything if I didn’t know Latin." 

Rating: A quiet, well-written and tender erotic classic that never quite engaged me. Is this because or in spite of my being pretty much in the relevant age-group now?! 

If you liked this: older women? Hmmm… Colette's Chéri, I think {REVIEW}.


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{READ IN 2016}

  • (K = Kindle; rr = re-read)
  • NOVEMBER
  • 88.
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  • 86. It Might Lead Anywhere [Bobby Owen 22] - E. R. Punshon [K]
  • 85. There's a Reason for Everything [Bobby Owen 21] - E. R. Punshon [K]
  • 84. Secrets Can't Be Kept [Bobby Owen 20] - E. R. Punshon [K]
  • OCTOBER
  • 83. Night's Cloak [Bobby Owen 19] - E. R. Punshon [K]
  • 82. The Conqueror Inn [Bobby Owen 18] - E. R. Punshon [K]
  • 81. The Diabolic Candelabra [Bobby Owen 17] - E. R. Punshon [K]
  • 80. The Dark Garden [Bobby Owen 16] - E. R. Punshon [K]
  • SEPTEMBER
  • 79. Picture Miss Seeton - Heron Carvic [K]
  • 78. Down Under (Benbow Smith 4) - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 77. Walk with Care (Benbow Smith 3) - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 76. Danger Calling (Benbow Smith 2) - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 75. Fool Errant (Benbow Smith 1) - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 74. The Annam Jewel - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 73. Mr Zero - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 72. Will o' the Wisp - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 71. Red Shadow - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 70. Pursuit of a Parcel (Lamb 3) - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 69. Who Pays the Piper (Lamb 2) - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 68. The Blind Side (Lamb 1) - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 67. Outrageous Fortune - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 66. The Amazing Chance - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 65. Red Stefan - Patricia Wentworth [K]
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  • 64. The Coldstone - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 63. Anne Belinda - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 62. The Black Cabinet - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 61. Hue & Cry - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 60. The Skin Collector - Jeffery Deaver [K]
  • 59. The Kill Room - Jeffery Deaver [K]
  • 58. Nothing Venture - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 57. Kingdom Lost - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 56. Beggar's Choice - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 55. Hole and Corner - Patricia Wentworth [K]
  • 54. Touch and Go - Patricia Wentworth [K]
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  • 38. The Outsider - Jason Dean [K]
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  • 34. A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell 1) - Deanna Raybourn [K]
  • 33. The Chimera Vector - Nathan M. Farrugia [K]
  • 32. An Infamous Army - Georgette Heyer [K]
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  • 19. Live to Tell - Lisa Gardner [K]
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  • 13. Love Insurance - Earl Derr Biggers [K]
  • JANUARY
  • 12. The Ignition Effect - Viv Ronnebeck [K]
  • 11. My Brilliant Career - Miles Franklin [K]
  • 10. Dangerous & Unseemly - K. B. Owen [K]
  • 9. In Bitter Chill - Sarah Ward [K[
  • 8. Half a Crown - Jo Walton [K]
  • 7. Ha'penny - Jo Walton [K]
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  • 1. Ten Star Clues [Bobby Owen 15] - E. R. Punshon [K]