Fourteen erotic travel tales written by and about contemporary African-Americans.
Following the model of her successful Brown Sugar erotica series, editor Taylor has assembled short selections from recognized authors, pseudonymous professionals and relative unknowns into a diverse and surprisingly literary collection. The sex (mostly straight with a helping of fantasy, some mild kink and two queer triangles) is plentiful and detailed, but it is never the only point. Race and class remain firmly in the foreground. Sexual desire is often inseparable from an ambivalent climb up the socioeconomic ladder: the book teems with first-generation college students, newly graduated lawyers and doctors and other barely-arrived buppies looking for a way to let loose. Similarly, the “travels” in these stories are just as often metaphorical as literal. Locales range from Chicago, Vancouver, B.C., and Nashville, to Paris, Madrid and Sicily. Various tourist traps show up—Key West, Hawaii, Jamaica—but their seamier sides are well on display. Throughout, African American protagonists run into (or chase gleefully after) their European and Caribbean counterparts in the African diaspora as well as other exotic and attractive locals of various hues and ethnicities. Diction and tone are also all over the map, from Miles Marshall Lewis’ flat but enjoyably earnest hip-hop inflected semester abroad story “Irrésistible,” to Preston Allen’s edgy, noirish, “Southernmost Triangle” (it’s nasty but, like its title, unintentionally rides the edge of camp) to the wise-cracking storyteller of Sandra Jackson-Opoku’s quite excellent “Fort Jesus.” All of this is entertaining, even educational, but is it hot? Well, for those who prefer extended literary foreplay to the clichés of porn and who are willing to travel outside their usual erotic territory, the book may prove just the ticket.
Erotica with ambition and appeal.