Challenging, erotic, pseudo-autobiograpy detailing the changing perspectives of a disabled, middle-aged female psychotherapist as she interacts with the world of alternative sexuality. It is black comedy and tragedy,innocence and debauchery, weakness and strength, courage and cynicism. It is a story of love, disillusion, outrageous freedoms and the persistence of hope.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.86(d)|
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The Triumph of Hope By Amelia May Kingston (United Kingdom: Viscount Publishing, 2006) IN DEPTH REVIEW BY CANADIAN REVIEWER JEAN HILLABOLD This big (380-page), satisfying e-book is subtitled ¿a semi-fictional autobiography.¿ Added to this partial-disclaimer is another one: ¿This book is not pornography.¿ If ¿pornography¿ means stereotyped descriptions of sex, it certainly is not. The reason for the ¿semi-fictional¿ nature of the narrative becomes clear as one reads chapter after chapter (sixty altogether!). The book is not a tell-all confession, but it reveals patterns in a life which looks real enough. ¿Amelia May Kingston¿ is the pen name of a British writer and counselling psychologist who has coped with disability, repeated betrayal by men, a lack of emotional support from her working-class family, her elderly mother¿s descent into senility, and the incomprehension of friends and associates when she set out to explore BDSM in middle age. This wandering river of a book starts out with deceptive simplicity and carries the reader along to a triumphant conclusion. It is eccentric, ambitious and enchanting. It is one of a kind. This book is part memoir, part speculation about family history and about traumatic experiences, partly an introduction to the BDSM scene for curious outsiders, and partly a series of warm conversations between Hope, the central character, and two female friends, Joanna and Irina, who serve as sounding-boards and represent other viewpoints. In some chapters, Hope is described in the third person, while in others she is clearly the storyteller. Somehow it all works, and the whole work comes across as greater than the sum of its parts. This book is not to be gulped down at one sitting. It rewards patience. The several-times-divorced Hope repeatedly asks herself whether she is a fool to believe in anything that other people (usually men) tell her, and whether there is anything real about the perceptions of a woman in love with a man. Like Pandora in the ancient Greek myth, she comes to value hope itself as a reason to keep going. As an overweight (by current standards of female beauty), health-challenged single professional woman approaching the age of sixty whose heterosexual orientation seems unchangeable, the current Hope (as distinct from her younger selves) realistically considers her options. She is painfully aware that most of the people she knows expect her simply to retire her sexual feelings or submerge them in a grandmotherly desire to nurture others. She considers the very small odds that she will find a healthy, attractive, mature male lover who is attentive to her needs. Despite the advice of her friends, Hope decides that finding a lover is too important to leave to chance, and that cyberspace offers a greater selection than her circle of friends, relatives, colleagues and clients. Hope discusses ¿pornography¿ with her friend Joanna after surfing the `net. Hope explains: ¿I was looking up `butterflies¿ on the net and found myself on a site called `Tortured Butterflies¿ with pictures of naked women being pierced, bound and beaten. I was shocked and disgusted. . . But I could not get it out of my head, and that worried me not a little. ¿Recently I took on a couple of cases which entail a lot more research. Obviously I can hardly call myself a psycho-sexual counselor when I am ignoring the fast-growing new field of cyber-sex. Not only the new attitudes it fosters, but the deviations that are becoming accepted as normal worry me, not to mention the ones even further out that are so far shared by only a small percentage of the population.¿ Hope confesses to Joanna that she has met the enemy (or the pervert) and it is her: ¿But in the last few weeks I have been looking at the same sort of stuff and even worse, without rage, without pity and even with a frisson of sexual excitement at the thought of torturing an erect member, or wearing painfully tight jewelle