Thursday, 5 August 2010
HAPPY EVER AFTER?
What is it that we want from an erotic story? What do I want from an erotic story?
I want to be allured, spellbound, challenged. It’s the same that I want from any story. I want to be lulled; drawn into a different, strange new world. Doesn’t matter whether the storyteller sets it in the past, the present or the future; or even if it’s a different world, with strange, unrecognisable characters. I want a story, a yarn, a carefully, well crafted tale.
The strange made normal. The normal made strange.
Vladimir Nabokov’s LOLITA, is one of the best stories I’ve ever read. It’s narrated by the very weird, Humbert Humbert. Is he a liar? Is he just manipulating the story to suit his own sinister purpose? Shifting blame?
It’s left up to the reader to decide. And I like that.
I like being able to choose the ending that I think suit’s the story best in Charles Dickens’ GREAT EXPECTATIONS and in John Fowles’ FRENCH LIEUTENANT’S WOMAN.
Or if the writer gives me an ending, I want to wonder about the characters. Where do they go? What happens to them after I close the book?
That sort of stuff satisfies me, as a reader.
But what I don’t like in any story, is when at the end, the characters have no hope. For that reason I don’t get along with Thomas Hardy. I can’t bear the lack of hope in TESS OF THE D’URBERVILLES. And I just knew that Bathsheba sending that Valentine’s card to Farmer Boldwood, in FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, would end in tears. And as for JUDE THE OBSCURE…well! So Thomas Hardy isn’t on my list of favourite writers. Yes, Hardy writes wonderful poetic prose; but I want more.
I don’t believe that in life there is no hope -- or perhaps I’m using the wrong phrase. I believe that there’s always a “what happens next”. And that’s what I want in fiction; what happens next. What happens to Lolita?
Giselle Lorimer is a new writer, who already is getting a cult following. Her first book, sets a standard hard to follow, both in truly erotic content and in the originality and sensitivity of the writing.
She is the author of several BDSM novels published by Silver Moon Books. Her works include ENSLAVING ANNA, BOUND TO PLEASE and OWNING LAURA. Generally they are the story of an inexperienced, virginal woman forced into becoming a sex-slave and subjected to great sexual abuse, pain and humiliation. They are similar to (and probably inspired by) STORY OF O. They are very explicit works and not for the squeamish.
I’ve read all of Giselle Lorimer’s trilogy. Erotic, sexy, pornographic and I enjoyed them.
Yes, I enjoyed the fantasy of total submission, humiliation, degradation. Just as I enjoyed STORY OF O and O’s decline and fall.
There’s no doubt that Lorimer is a sophisticated writer. She knows how to draw the reader in and hold attention. She’s great at atmosphere and at weaving a story.
So while I enjoyed Lorimer’s trilogy, I was left feeling dissatisfied because she leaves her characters without any sort of hope. If the characters “are on a quest for meaningful human contact,” as one reviewer suggests, they, and the reader, are bitterly disappointed. There is no love; not even adoration for their masters. Just control and manipulation. In the end I found the stories bleak; there’s a sadness about these girls. Even within the framework of total submission their only goal is the orgasm. There isn’t “a what happens next.” There is no next; the girls are sex slaves and that’s it.
In ENSLAVING ANNA, Anna is continually plundered by her masters. She is unable to put up any sort of resistance to them, because of the wild intensity of her orgasms. She is a walking, talking blow up doll. Indeed, in the final pages of the book, she is “modified”. Her beautiful, voluptuous breasts are enlarged to the extent that they are “comedy” breasts. She also has an implant so that her masters can force her to orgasm by remote control.
In BOUND TO PLEASE, Charlotte is defiled by her masters. She is used, abused, degraded, forced into their depraved games; yet she is unable to help herself. She loves it, and does not have the will to walk away. In the second half of the novel she is given injections by her master, to induce lactation. She is in the hands of dominant and cruel men, and Charlotte is catapulted into a series of trials and tribulations which have only one thing in common: each one involves more humiliation than the last. And each time she is convinced that she has reached rock bottom, her masters dream up something else, until she at last comes to realise that her destiny really does lie in being Bound to Please
In OWNING LAURA, , Laura lives in a world where women's destinies are rigidly controlled by the state -- they can be either chaste "untouchables" or merely dumb instruments for men's pleasure -- Laura's fantasies are dangerous. Born into a family of wealth and power, she seems condemned to a life as one of the pure untouchables -- married off to any wealthy old man her father chooses for her. But her desires lead her to play perilous games.
This is the only book of Lorimer’s, where I got the idea that Laura was searching for something meaningful. Of course her sexual appetite is as rapacious as that of Lorimer’s other heroines, and that is her downfall, but, still there is a sense that she desires a sort of fulfilment. She briefly finds a sort of happiness. But still, the only “what happens next” is for Laura to live her life as a sex slave.
I try to give a “what happens next” slant to my own erotic fiction. Even men and women who have embraced the life of sexual slavery; they celebrate their orientation. Sometimes through their tears; but they are reconciled within themselves.
I’m romantic enough to believe that a total giving of the self, whatever form it takes, is about loving.
I remember an erotic story I read a while ago by Janine Ashbless. THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL. It’s in her CRUEL ENCHANTMENT collection. I read it again last night. It’s about two women, set in long, long ago. Draughty castles, hard, stone floors covered in rushes. Splendid feasts; much wine, “roast and gilded pigeon” to dine upon.
A stepmother and her stepdaughter. The two embrace their newly discovered roles as Dominant and submissive.
The point I am making is that I left the story with a sense of curiosity. What happens afterwards? I am free to wonder; indeed wander.
The same with Jude Mason’s characters. They have a future that I can think about beyond the ending of the novel. And M.Christian’s novel, RUNNING DRY. What does happen to Shelly after the confrontation in the desert? Where does she go?
Yes “shit happens” in life, and in fiction. Often there seems to be no resolution. I don’t mind the shit happening, but I do want to contemplate what the shit is that’s happening next.