A fictionalized account of a sex addict’s experiences in the Far East and India.
The pseudonymous author is a businessman who spent many years working for an Australian company in Asia. He’s turned those years into an occasionally entertaining, semiautobiographical novel about the “sexual divide” in which the protagonist, Eddie Expat, is an unrepentant sex addict. “[W]e are all—men and women both—sitting in a dysfunctional canoe of some sort or other and despite the divide defined by the misogynists: misandrist camps, we are in this together,” Expat says in one of the book’s more lucid passages. The story follows the married Expat’s “road out of misogyny-city” by recounting a seemingly endless series of sexual adventures with bar girls, prostitutes and others in Malaysia, Thailand and elsewhere. While declaiming hard-core pornography, Expat goes for the graphic, most notably in a description of a visit to a Bangkok brothel where he is entertained by a toothless “old hag.” “Some men lose their hearts in Thailand,” he remembers. “I lost my conscience!” There are pangs of remorse about his behavior that interrupt the parade of misogyny, but it’s only after Expat engages in a ménage à trois that his conscience kicks in. “There in the mirror was the womanizing fat farang sex tourist I despised,” Expat says. “A greying, slightly overweight, middle aged man with his arms around two petite Thai beauties….Not content to look like some sleazy sex tourist—I’d then followed through and acted the part.” Expat ends up in India, a “1.6 billion headcount whirlpool of a country” with a much stricter moral code, where he goes “cold turkey” and somehow becomes “far wiser and balanced than the addict that had landed in India.” He offers some thoughts on the current crisis of sexual violence in India—“[p]oorly educated Neanderthal rural thugs” are the root of the problem—but readers are likely to tire of his relentless machismo. His eventual enlightenment—“Be happy with what you’ve got”—is small recompense for accompanying him on such a tedious sexual journey.
A tiresomely macho protagonist detracts from insights into the sexual divide.