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Most literary depictions of the S&M scene simply aim for titillation, but Wald's approach, while hardly demure, seems more ambitious. Her characters—usually young, ordinary suburbanites from Middle America—become Masters or Slaves the way other teenagers become rock climbers or Rangers fans, and the real measure of her success is her ability to make the bizarre and highly perverse subculture of the dungeons seem comprehensible and almost normal from an outsider's point of view. In "The Houseboy," for example, a perfectly unremarkable high-school senior becomes so obsessed by an Army recruiter (and intelligence operative) that he travels to New York and invents an excuse to move in with him as a kind of au pair; in "Turned Out," a recently sprung ex-con finds himself unable to cope with the freedom of a life without constraints. The dominatrix in "Therapy," who finds herself beaten at her own game by her shrink, is one of the less convincing characters here, as is the Catholic schoolgirl of "Resolution," who runs away with a circus to lose her sexual inhibition and discovers herself in the process. For the most part, however, these stories are inhabited by thoroughly credible characters whose peculiarities serve to inspire curiosity rather than boredom or disgust—such as the college girl of "Missing the Boat," whose interest in S&M seems to proceed from an overwhelming sense of her own boredom unrelieved by any sense of her own identity.
Remarkable and fascinating, if somewhat crudely drawn. Wald writes with a simplicity and frankness that are unusual but perfectly suited to her subject.
|Ruby and the Bull||33|
|Missing the Boat||131|
|The Illustrating Man||173|
Posted February 9, 2003
I picked up Meeting the Master expecting nothing more than a little D&S erotica but was pleasantly surprised. I hadn't realized when I purchased the book that these were a series of vignettes that would delve into the human psychology rather than the physical submission or domination of the D&S scene. I was unable to put the book down once I had begun and moved from one short story to the next up until the very end. The characters in some of the stories will be permanently branded, which seems appropriate after reading "The Illustrating Man", into my mind. I finished the last of the book and was sorely disappointed to have it end. While I particularly enjoyed "The Illustrating Man" I was also pulled to "The Resolution" and "The Houseboy." Many of her stories explored a different type of love, one commonly unacknowledged in society. This type of love demands complete surrender/submissiveness to another (hopefully to the one you love) - to the point of objectification/insignificance. While this book won't be for everyone I was left with a stunned feeling once it was over and craving for more. A good book to add to any literary collection but a must for anyone with a propensity for D&S lifestyle or literature.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.