YA novelist Block (I Was a Teenage Fairy, 1998, etc.) moves into the adult market—the very adult market—in a series of tales tied together by lyrical sex that would stir a wooden Indian.
So many of these spirited sketches turn on sexual metamorphosis that readers may wonder whether Block has been boning up on Ted Hughes’s wonderful Tales from Ovid. Tom Mac (‘Mer’) is an aging surfer who has lost the urge to ride the waves until one day in the rain he meets a girl in a wheelchair, her T-shirt plastered to her breasts and her nipples hard. Her legs stay covered while they make all sorts of love short of coitus. The girl is, of course, a goddess of the sea, though we never find out whether she has a mermaid’s tail. Tom takes up surfing again, and their love life only improves. In the title piece, young Sylvie is screwing anything in reach—guys with swastikas, whatever—but is quite unhappy about her nymphomania. Then Sylvie’s best friend, Plum, a fellow poet of the slams, reveals that all the women who go to bed with her find dreamy guys and leave her for them. So shouldn’t Sylvie have shy and tender sex with Plum? Assuredly. In ‘Goddess,’ Elvis Dean’s girlfriend dumps him, then reappears dancing in a strip bar called House of Goddess—only now she has a cat’s face. Mr. Wonder, the magician owner of the House, won’t let any of his surgically altered employees leave unless a man truly loves them. Will Elvis take her back? The final story, ‘Overcoming,’ turns on Carmelita’s fantasies of transformation, which she thinks will keep her lover, Tony, from wandering. But only the fantasies bring her to orgasm, never Tony. Until . . . .
Call these bedtime firecrackers.