FLING WITH A DEMON LOVER by Kelvin Christopher James


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 In a disappointing second novel, Trinidadian-born writer James (Secrets, 1993, etc.) explores erotic obsessions on a Greek isle--a place where the present and past converge for a reprise of a number of other tales, ancient and modern, with Hellenic settings. When a friend offers Sassela, an African-American teacher in Harlem, an all-expenses-paid vacation on the island of Mineros, Sassela happily accepts. The weather at home is awful, and her live-in lover, Harry, is a drag--so much so that she's attracted to Ciam Turrin, a 20ish Caribbean native and college student who recently rescued her car from the snow. Nearly 40, Sassela feels that her life is going nowhere, so why not live a little? And to round things off, it seems that Ciam is also headed to Mineros with a college soccer team, which he immediately abandons upon landing to take Sassela to his hut by the sea. Mineros is blessed with an extraordinarily balmy climate for January in the Mediterranean, and Sassela seems remarkably able to forget her teaching and course work, but then this is a fable, a reworking of old myths updated to showcase the erotic experiences of a beautiful and independent woman. The couple have lots of graphically described sex, but there's something wrong with the island. The men are either elderly or children, and ancient crones warn of harm to Ciam. Then a young girl, Fifina, leans out of a window to stroke Ciam's face as he and Sassela walk by. Fifina, Sassela learns, is a Lamia, a demon in the form of a woman who drains young men of their ``life juice,'' and is now taking a distinct interest in Ciam. Some tantalizing moments that recall James's gift for lyricism and atmosphere, but not enough to give his tale the edge and snap it needs to make it a modern horror tale of eros and evil on the lam. ($50,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-06-017350-5
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1996


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