The Word Desire

Overview

The twelve startlingly original stories about erotic situations collected in The Word Desire are the best opportunity yet for adventurous readers to discover the fiction of Rikki Ducornet. Always at ease with the sensuous, perverse and eccentric aspects of human nature, Ducornet turns her attention in this collection to the most volatile and easily misunderstood emotion, desire.

Each of these stories centers on a pivotal erotic moment in the lives of the men and women who ...

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Overview

The twelve startlingly original stories about erotic situations collected in The Word Desire are the best opportunity yet for adventurous readers to discover the fiction of Rikki Ducornet. Always at ease with the sensuous, perverse and eccentric aspects of human nature, Ducornet turns her attention in this collection to the most volatile and easily misunderstood emotion, desire.

Each of these stories centers on a pivotal erotic moment in the lives of the men and women who narrate them, exploring the many strange reverberations that occur when desire is present whether repressed or acted upon.

Dalkey Archive Press

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a few pages, each of Ducornet's dozen stories creates a universe. Readers familiar with her work (NBCC finalist for The Jade Cabinet, etc.) will recognize the theme -- desire, its frustration, its perversion, its fulfillment. Not every story is perfect -- the polemical "The Student from Algiers" and the too-personal title story diverge from the book's universal and affective tenor. But in the other tales, all set in slightly menacing locales (France, Egypt, Babylon or New York's Hudson River Valley), characters are destroyed by the imposition of others' longings or the abnegation of their own. In "Vertige Dor," the scholar of the title wanders India in an erratic, erotic search for an ancient race of four-armed beings. The priest of "The Foxed Mirror" experiences one pagan hour of temptation and illumination with a young artist, but his pious cowardice keeps him from any such human connection again. In "Roseveine," the narrator, terrorized as a young boy by his father's brutal description of the Madagascar market where live tortoises are displayed stripped of their shells, devises elaborate carapaces for his beloved from his sanctuary in the asylum. But perhaps the lap-dog in "Fortun" puts it best. Josephine Beauharnais's little pet pines for Egypt and a somnolent dachshund. His desires may be painful, even fatal, but with them he is "no longer a mere biological being but one capable of reverie."(Oct.)
Library Journal
The author of Phospor in Dreamland (LJ 10/15/95) here displays her linguistic mastery to fine effect. The 12 stories, set in an array of locales and historical periods, depict variations of erotic longing. Ducornet's characters -- not all of them human -- endure moments of exquisite or tortuous passion. In the haunting "The Neurosis of Containment," a repressed Thirties spinster suddenly finds (or imagines) herself cavorting with dark angels in a Hudson River manor garden. The young Mexican priest in "The Foxed Mirror" loses heart and soul to a wild artist spinning children's tops on his own flesh. In "Wormwood," a little girl at her grandfather's deathbed is startled by the secret sensuality of a grotesque carving. The title story explores graphically the self-annihilations of physical love. Distinguished by evocative language and poetic imagery, these sophisticated, clever tales belong in most collections of literary fiction. Starr Smith, Marymount Univ. Lib., Arlington, Va.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564783981
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2005
  • Pages: 1
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Rikki Ducornet has lived in North Africa, South America, Canada, and France, and now lives in Denver, Colorado. She is working on a new novel to be published by Henry Holt, The Fan-Maker's Inquisition.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
The Chess Set of Ivory 3
Wormwood 17
Roseveine 33
Das Wunderbuch 53
Vertige Dore 73
The Many Tenses of Wanting 87
The Student from Algiers 103
The Foxed Mirror 121
The Neurosis of Containment 137
Fortune 161
Opium 177
The Word "Desire" 187
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