Books by Alina Reyes

Released: May 1, 1996

Smutty meanderings from French porn diva Reyes (The Butcher, 1995), who here badly overestimates the literary freight her train can pull. This time, the ostensible gimmick at hand is that we are given two novels for the price of one, each relating sometimes identical (and always similar) events, one from the male and one from the female point of view. The action begins at a circus sideshow called the Kingdom of Eros, where a man and a woman meet and begin their tryst—which is itself the center and entirety of the plot. At the end of each chapter, the protagonist is left facing several doors, each corresponding to a subsequent chapter in the narrative, and the reader is thus allowed to alter the direction of the story by choosing which door to enter. Despite such an elaborate—and quickly annoying—narrative device, it is evident from the start that there is no story here to be told, apart from the various hydraulics involved in human coupling. Although we are given some vague rhetoric about ``the Shadow of Myself'' and ``the Ghost of Lost Love,'' no person or event seems to bear the least relation to anyone or anything outside herself, himself, or itself, and what we ultimately seem to find are simply random (if vivid) depictions of people having sex, with nothing to unite them thematically. Erotic vignettes, some quite extraordinary, but not a book in any more rewardingly imaginable sense: raw material thrown haphazardly on the page. Read full book review >
Released: June 16, 1995

Two novellas—one torrid, the other patently inane—mark the American debut of a bestselling French sensation. In ``The Butcher,'' a female art student works in a butcher shop during the summer and, while minding the till, morbidly watches the butcher hack apart meat. Having just had her first sexual experience, the narrator sees sex in everything. And this lust isn't dissipated by the incredibly crude sweet nothings the fat, older butcher whispers in her ear. At first she simply enjoys his elaborate verbal fantasies, then she gives in, and her description of an afternoon of primal sex is as earthy and intense as anything seen in highbrow literature for quite some time. Brief, raw, and straight to the point, ``The Butcher'' makes for extremely steamy reading. ``Lucie's Long Voyage,'' by contrast, is a rambling modern fairy tale narrated by a young squatter in an unnamed, slightly futuristic city who goes up into the mountains and cohabits with a bear in a cave. When she returns to the city, with child, she takes up residence in an abandoned church, then gets the urge to write and searches out the library, which is really a museum for books. There, she meets an old man, a writer, who—since she reminds him of a woman he knew 50 years before—winds up telling her his own fairy tale. Then the city is swallowed by an earthquake. Purposefully disjointed, the simplistic observations about death and harmony could have been written by an earnest teenager under the influence of one too many fantasy novels. After the sultry prose of ``The Butcher,'' the second, decidedly unerotic novella seems like a case of false advertising. Read full book review >