RECLINING NUDE by Claudia Reiss


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There've been many cheesy imitations of Erica Jong's Fear of Flying (1973)in the decade since--but this amateurish entry, combining hard-core porn, tepid gags, and styrofoam liberation rhetoric, is surely the worst. ""What a shame this body has never been granted a completely devastating lay,"" thinks narrator Joan Hiller, mother of two, as she masturbates in her Long Island tub. Accountant-husband Stuart is a sexual washout, you see--repressed, prim, ""a short-order cock."" So, when part-time realty agent Joan meets summer-renter Gil, ""I was gripped by an imperative feeling encompassing all the contours of my life, from the titillation of my clitoris to the well-being of my soul. . . ."" Lots of minutely detailed adultery ensues. Stuart moves out when he catches on. But, after getting a taste of the orgy scene during a strip-tennis game, Joan realizes that sexual freedom means No Commitments: ""My dance of independence was meant to stifle this mono-directed yearning as well as disclaim it as a moral imperative."" Thus, she determinedly moves on from Gil to a series of sex-partners (""I caught an unidentified flying organ and guided it into port""), including group gropes and lesbianism. She also revives her painting career: ""I was forming, experiencing the substance of my singularity."" Still, Joan finally realizes that ""I could never become a zealot of independence and the cathartic fuck""--and perhaps there's hope for her and Gil: ""After all my explorations, exploitations, punting, and pulsations, I was a virgin again."" Even for those partial to the Orgasm/substance-of-my-singularity genre: a tacky, mindless (despite book/art allusions), Me-decade replay.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1982
Publisher: Stein & Day