Fling with a Demon Lover

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Sassela is tired of her fourth-grade students, tired of her mundane life and particularly tired of living with a man she no longer loves. When she meets Ciam, with his lilting accent and a smile that reflects his native Caribbean sunshine, he seems like a balmy breeze in her otherwise cold life. Fifteen years her junior, the free-spirited Ciam is a welcome flirtation until he unexpectedly shows up on her trip to Greece. There they meet a strange otherworldly girl, and Sassela soon discovers that her innocent ...
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Overview

Sassela is tired of her fourth-grade students, tired of her mundane life and particularly tired of living with a man she no longer loves. When she meets Ciam, with his lilting accent and a smile that reflects his native Caribbean sunshine, he seems like a balmy breeze in her otherwise cold life. Fifteen years her junior, the free-spirited Ciam is a welcome flirtation until he unexpectedly shows up on her trip to Greece. There they meet a strange otherworldly girl, and Sassela soon discovers that her innocent fling has grown dangerously out of control and that a sinister evil lurks deep within her island paradise.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In his second novel, Trinidad-born, Harlem resident James (Secrets) spins a charming, textured but not quite cohesive tale in which ancient superstitions impinge on a modern romance. A teacher in Harlem, Sassela Jack, 38, leads a disciplined, regimented life, pursues a Ph.D. in teaching science and is reconsidering her relationship with her lazy live-in boyfriend. After a sweet-talking West Indian student named Ciam Turrin volunteers to dig out Sassela's snow-buried car, teacher and pupil start meeting for coffee. Though Sassela quickly pegs Ciam as far more charming than trustworthy, his company is refreshing. When Sassela is offered a free vacation on the Greek island of Mineros, she breaks up with her boyfriend and takes the trip to clear her mind. To Sassela's surprise, Ciam shows up on the island as well; when he offers his services as tour guide and "bargain slave," the adventuress in her assents. From here the story slows down to the pace of a sun-drenched vacation; Ciam and Sassela stay in a seaside cottage and commence a steamy sexual relationship. Gradually, however, Sasella becomes aware that the island is not the idyll she had expected. A beautiful 10-year-old native girl, Fifina, who seems to possess dark, otherworldly powers, becomes bizarrely obsessed with Ciam. Fifina's capacity for evil (she is a lamia, who lures men to destruction) finally moves the tale into the supernatural realm. James's lilting prose-dense, vivid and musical-is captivating, but the novel is an uneasy blend of horror and myth, not quite succeeding as either. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060928278
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/29/2000
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 5.74 (w) x 8.95 (h) x 0.77 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2002

    Good booke but it reminds me of terry mcmiilan's stella

    i think that this book is great but lacks originality. I think that it good enough to read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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