Monday, July 23, 2012

Foreign Affairs edited by Mitzi Szereto

Release Date: August 3rd, 2004
Publisher: Cleis Press
Page Count: 260
Source: Complimentary copy provided by Naked Reader Book Club in exchange for an honest an unbiased review
Sexual delight awaits you in every port of call

Escape the mundane. Fill your senses with the sights, sounds, and aromas of faraway places, the perfume counters of Dubai and the hidden waterfalls of St. Lucia, a café overlooking the beach on Tenerlife, and a men's bathhouse on a back street in Brussels. These are stories of lush, ripe sex. In Linda Jaivin's "Peking Duck," a photographer eludes her watchful interpreter to tumble with a circus acrobat at the Old Summer Palace in Beijing. In Donna George Storey's "Ukiyo," an overworked professor tours the red light district of Kyoto, attracting unexpected pleasures. And Holly Farris's magical "Continental Breakfast" puts a twist on the second honeymoon, when a woman staying at an auberge in Brittany finds that the cook and gardener can read her desire better than her neglectful husband. Foreign Affairs presents luminous erotica with the subtle, sexy undercurrent of unfamiliar waters.
What Stephanie Thinks: The thrill of sexual endeavors in unfamiliar — and potentially risky — settings, makes Foreign Affairs a great, adrenaline-pumping read. Some of the stories are blander than others, but for the most part, they are fast-paced, well-written, and guiltily pleasuring.

Stories: There's nothing particularly special about this collection. While the stories are all different and have great exposition/characterization, they're all just contemporary settings. I don't think there were many themes like BDSM (though, there were maybe one or two stories with them) so it made the whole collection a little less exciting. I however did love the smoothness of the quality of the writing, which goes for Szereto's editing skills.

Writing quality: Szereto is one of my favorite Cleis editors to date: her skills are flawless, and it comes across through her writing and editing. Each of these stories are skillfully crafted, which gives as much credit to all the authors as it does to the editor herself.

Complaints: I don't think I felt this collection THAT much. The "escape" sounded luxurious, but in effect, it wasn't all too great. Some of the stories fall flat (i.e. they go for sensual, rather than sexy, so I found them a bit boring).

Stories I liked: 'So the Cold Night' by Cheyenne Blue and 'The Sex Critic' by Diane LeBow are my favorites!

Stephanie Loves: ""

Radical Rating: 4 stars

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