UNMASTERED by Katherine Angel


A Book on Desire, Most Difficult to Tell
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A revealing look at postmodern feminism and its role in female desire through one woman’s personal anecdotes, meditations and professional research.

Angel provides an intelligent examination of how today’s women satiate their needs and desires. The author examines her own sexual experiences as both a writer and a lover, from her teen years to the present, in poetic yet fragmented theories revolving around the feminist icons Virginia Woolf and Susan Sontag. This is not to say that her philosophy leans toward the bias of these women; rather, she uses their thoughts as examples and builds on them to answer an important question that many women face in some form or another: “What is it to define, or even to know, our desires—to identify which are our own, and which result from a kind of porousness?” The definition of this identification of desire within oneself, the desire for women to be able to freely speak up about what they really want and how they want it is answered through Angel’s own emotional bonding to the modern woman’s intuitive feelings of shame, beauty, and confusion of sex or lust for love. Throughout the book, structured as a numbered series of vignettes, short paragraphs and even single sentences, the author struggles with her personal convictions regarding love and lust in and out of the bedroom. However, she staunchly maintains her theory with an empowering conclusion that begs for women to speak up above the commercialized version of sex and the woman’s perceived notion of what it takes to fulfill their desires. “The desire to speak is a desire to burst through silence, to puncture,” she writes.

 “As such, it is also erotic; it contains its own excitement. Speaking undoes the perceived straitjacketing. Unlaces the corset, winds down the hair.”

An unconventional and strikingly lyrical observation of women and their desire to speak regarding the fulfillment of their sexual and emotional needs.

Pub Date: June 4th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-374-28040-6
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2013


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