Lush, erotic, graphically depicted interpersonal relations between an obsessive, passionate couple.
Though the man and woman depicted in Stevenson’s provocative allegory remain unnamed throughout the story, the reader becomes intimately familiar with them by way of delicately woven, finely wrought passages. Desirous and flooded with endless longing, the woman, mysterious and serpentine in her movements, draws a cheerless, angry male to her with ease. Her warmth and passion releases him from a lifetime â€œspent in exile.” As teenagers, they made love in horse stables–now they walk on beaches, nap under trees during autumn afternoons or enjoy each other in a pier-house overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, him caressing her as if she were â€œstones set in a warm wall touched lovingly by water and time.” The many segments detailing their coupling flow with poetic language that is sexually explicit yet bolstered by a fiery, brazen love that courses through both characters, but that only one of them openly acknowledges. Stevenson leaves little to the imagination when describing genitalia, or the push and pull of coital interplay, or the male’s â€œgymnastic energy” for a woman who uses his convulsive surges of emotion to render him helplessly mad, incapable of recognizing the outside world flourishing around him. In the concluding paragraphs, Stevenson changes the tone of the book from sexy to poignant, suggesting that much of the text could be the work of the man’s vivid imagination. In plumbing the depths of his unnamed characters’ deepest desires, Stevenson has created a love story that leaves the emotional details up to the reader. With a barely discernable storyline, the book forms a diminutive work of art in poem form: Stimulating free verse comprised of fertile words and metaphors on the thickness and possessiveness of love.
An enchanting slice of pungent prose: indulgent, luxuriant and effectively titillating.