An affable octogenarian reflects on the spicier snippets of his sex life.
“I amaze myself for being able to recall minute details of events of decades ago,” writes the 88-year-old author in this unconventional collection of appealing, inoffensive vignettes on life and sex. The son of a Hungarian soldier from Transylvania who fought for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Halmay (Ghost Town, 2013, etc.) was raised in the company of comely maids, each contributing to his carnal education and the loss of his virginity. From his youth in Toronto as a randy teenager, the author writes of being helplessly enamored by women and of becoming fascinated by their beauty and “lack of logic.” A lover of humorous females, he admits that his ideal mate would be actress Lisa Kudrow, whom he describes as “physically attractive but who is intrinsically funny and I find that devastating.” He writes floridly of a particularly zesty, early relationship at 19 with a voluptuous seductress named “Kiki,” then recounts torrid near-miss encounters stifled by office-cleaning women, steamy nights of drunken fumbling, a mother and daughter harboring very fluid views of sex, and an amorous yet disastrously irresponsible affair with a married woman. The longest (and least sensual) recollection in this memoir is a meandering memory encapsulating the dissolution of his 30-year marriage and an unusual friendship with an outspoken divorcée. Though his tale is uneven in theme and tone, Halmay emerges as a palpably passionate raconteur, showing an endless fascination with human nature and reliably interjecting a surplus of side banter into the erotic encounters that tickled much of his youth. The author’s infectious charm and nonchalant sense of humor shine most when he sticks to the absurdities of sex, even as his honest appraisals of both gay and straight marriage, sexual compulsion, and organized religion offer refreshing respites. Consistently frank, Halmay concludes his potent history with rather uneventful homosexual experiences and a poignant story of a friend who died too soon. Suffused with sage wisdom and quirks galore, Halmay implores readers to simply yield to life’s ebb and flow because “taking seriously the insanity of life tends to destroy us bit by bit.”
A mildly provocative, gloriously eccentric autobiography told through the aging eyes of a man who unapologetically adores the charms and wonders of women.