Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Delicate, Erotic & Unraveling

The adjectives chosen to title this post refer to the book I just finished reading: Netsuke, by Rikki Ducornet. An interesting novel, that delves into the life of a psychoanalyst particularly interested in seducing his patients, or allowing his patients to seduce him, for therapeutic value.

I am reviewing an uncorrected galley, provided by the publisher. My opinions are my own, uninfluenced, because my brain's a pretty hard one to control. ;)

For the length of time which this book covers, it is clear the the psychoanalyst has been indulging in his studies for some time. He has had several failed marriages previous to the novel's beginning, and admits that he is extremely neglectful towards his current wife in favor of the flavor of the moment.

The psychoanalyst is not merely obsessed with the concept of sex, and how it can destroy or heal another person. He also becomes infatuated several times throughout the course of the novel with a certain client, and makes it clear that, at one time, he was infatuated in such a way with his wife.

It is clear, almost from the beginning, that the psychoanalyst is at least as disturbed as his patients. It is unclear whether or not he is actually affording any of his clients any help. He is trying to save himself through lustful encounters, trying to find the right person who can save him, and convincing himself that what he is doing is naughty, but helpful to the other people in his life.

The writing style in this novel is very interesting. It meanders a bit. There are very short chapters. It is, in fact, a very short novel. Yet it is pleasant to read. While the exact ending was not a foregone conclusion, the entire novel is heading towards an unpleasant ending.

I enjoyed reading this novel, which was released last month. The author has written eight novels, though this was the first of hers that I've read. I'm curious, now, to read some of her other material.

This novel got me thinking, and dealt with some issues which interest me. The concept of an obviously very intelligent individual indulging in self-destructive behavior is one that is come across often in life, and it was interesting to see it in this novel. It was that concept, however, more than the sex which was interesting. This is not erotica - the novel deals with sex, often, but is unlikely to turn you on. This is a book meant to challenge your intellect, rather than stimulate your libido. And it is worth reading.

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