SEX CRIMES by Jenefer Shute


Email this review


 After making waves with her 1992 debut, Life-Size, the chronicle of an anorexic, Shute returns with a different, no less discomfiting tale of obsession, this time involving a woman so hopelessly in love that she blinds her erstwhile boyfriend. The deed is done before the story opens, with Christine Chandler, tagged in the tabloids as the Boston Fury, telling her own version of events for her lawyer's benefit as her trial looms. A driven 38-year-old attorney (Harvard Law, magna cum laude) specializing in immigration cases, Chris has never had much luck with relationships; when the much younger Scott, an unsuccessful ex-musician turned fledgling photographer, comes on to her at a New Year's Eve party, at first she doubts he'll be any different. She takes him to bed anyway, then calls him up to arrange future encounters in which body language does most of the talking. It isn't long, then, before they're seriously involved. But there's a problem, of course: Scott's live-in, who just happens to be on a yearlong assignment in Seoul. He still calls her regularly, making Chris insanely jealous, and after a few flare-ups followed by desperate reconciliations, the sex gets rougher, the rules get bent, and she discovers that both her self-esteem and her control are gone. Numb but still functioning, she moves to protect herself after a particularly brutal night, but one last confrontation in her apartment is still to occur--and the jury will be out a long time determining who was to blame for what eventually happened. While the effort to get inside the head of one so disturbed at times seems heavily stylized and clinical, there's no denying that this sexy fable of modernity exposes emotions that many might rather ignore. (Literary Guild and Doubleday book club selections)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-385-48504-2
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1996