Kink

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In "Kink," her mesmerizing new novel, Koja explores the many dazzling facets of obsession—intellectual, emotional, and sexual—created and refracted by the ever-changing dynamics of a three-way relationship between a man and two women. Set in a gritty downtown urban milieu of late-night clubs and a decadent art scene where all past ties seem severed, Kink is at once spellbindingly erotic and determined—in brilliant studies of character, motivation, manipulation, and spiritual unease—to portray both the ...
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Overview

In "Kink," her mesmerizing new novel, Koja explores the many dazzling facets of obsession—intellectual, emotional, and sexual—created and refracted by the ever-changing dynamics of a three-way relationship between a man and two women. Set in a gritty downtown urban milieu of late-night clubs and a decadent art scene where all past ties seem severed, Kink is at once spellbindingly erotic and determined—in brilliant studies of character, motivation, manipulation, and spiritual unease—to portray both the possibilities for personal transformation and the dead-end games of moral bankruptcy.

Koja's uncanny blend of eroticism and gothic hallucination, her unabashed readiness to take on the larger issues of the human condition, and her sheer lyricism as a prose stylist have set an ambitious standard by which other writers of her generation must be judged. Kink explores the many dazzling facets of obsession--intellectual, emotional, and sexual--created and refracted by the ever-changing dynamics of a three-way relationship between a man and two women.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Characters consumed by their obsessions are a Koja (Strange Angels) trademark, but where they have served as appropriate vehicles for the psychological horrors of her earlier novels, they come across as self-absorbed bores in this stab at transgressive mainstream fiction. Jess, who narrates, and Sophie are young lovers, synchronized in mood and smugly confident of their superiority to the avant-garde artiste types they hang out with-until they let the sexually alluring Lena move into their apartment. Lena becomes part of their "kink," a way of "making your life, shaping it like, like art, by the way you see things, the way you are." The ensuing mnage trois proves short-lived, however, as Jess and Sophie find themselves battling for Lena's affection. Jess spends much of his time wallowing in self-pity and blinded to what will be obvious to readers: that the aloof Lena is working out her own kink, using the unperceptive couple as pawns. Koja is a brilliant stylist; the unembellished sensory impressions she shapes into the matrix of Jess's narrative perfectly express his emotional devastation. Jess will win the sympathy of few readers, however, as his ceaseless examination of his hurt feelings casts his story in the same light in which he ultimately views Lena: as an entity "without passion or defiance, no heat at all, but only cold, enormous and self-contained." Rights (other than electronic): Scovil Chichak Galen. (June)
Library Journal
For anyone who ever wanted to explore the human dynamics of a mnage trois, this intense, erotic piece is a recommended launching pad. Kink will definitely appeal to the twentysomething crowd as the novel's three musketeers wind their decadent way through parties, art gallery shows, clubs, and the like in New York City. Unfortunately, the novel is dominated by the thoughts and feelings of Jess, the male in this threesome. His singular focus on Lena, one of the women, becomes the reader's focus as we all wait to see the outcome of this relationship. Who will survive the manipulative, self-serving games these three play? Will it be Lena and Jess or Jess and Sophie, who were coupled prior to Lena's entrance? How about the two women? Given all the tension driving toward the denouement, readers will probably be disappointed that the ending does not have more of a kink. Koja also authored Skin (LJ, 3/1/93). For public libraries.Faye A. Chadwell, Univ. of Oregon Lib., Eugene
Kirkus Reviews
Her prose style like a buzz saw shearing through layers of consciousness, Koja (Strange Angels, 1994, etc.) continues her rampage through the land of eros, again framing her penchant for trios and S&M in a bleak but ever-so-trendy downtown art scene.

Narrator Jess, a happy-go-lucky temp worker, and his childlike hairdressing soulmate Sophie think they have it all just because they have each other: They play their game to the hilt, making out anywhere, anytime—and so much the better with an audience. Their lusty play maintains an earthy innocence, however, until they meet cool, sophisticated, exquisite Lena, who gives them a new word for their sport—"kink"—and with whom they immediately bond. What starts as a friendship with sexual overtones changes character when Lena moves in with them; her allure ties Jess in knots until he gains the object of his desire, and a menage à trois is born. But Sophie and Lena are a hot item, too, and so poor Jess is blindsided when—so overwhelmed by his passion that he wants Sophie out of the picture (and believing that Lena is in agreement)—he forces the issue and becomes the odd man out. Obsessed with Lena even after her betrayal, he compulsively tracks down her acquaintances, from space-cadet sculptor Edie to filmmaker Annemarie, and finally the powerful, aging Saul, who starred with Lena in Annemarie's XXX- rated "art film" Peril, gaining an ugly but consistent picture of her romantic conquests and mastery of the three-way from her wrecks of ex-mates. Eventually his new knowledge—along with a helping hand from Sophie—enables him to trade in his obsession for the hope of a more balanced relationship.

There's immense power here in the style and titillating subject matter but also a chilling sense that one is being manipulated, all the right buttons being pushed, from the first page down to the sap-happy ending.

From Barnes & Noble
An erotic story of the intellectual, emotional, and sexual obsession created in the three-way affair between a man and two women. Set in gritty night clubs and a decadent art scene, this is an intelligent study on personal transformations and moral bankruptcy.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805043914
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/1/1996
  • Pages: 278
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 7.81 (h) x 1.03 (d)

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