Thursday, August 02, 2012

Close, Too Close : book review

This book is not a book; it is an exploration into the deepest secrets of humankind. It unleashes the animal in you – it brings your lusty, sexy self to the fore. And the best thing is – that you don’t feel awkward about it

That quite well summarizes what I feel about this book. I am not a “book reader”. A very non-queer person, I would straight turn out to be, if I was to be compared with the verbose queer junta. Well, to me reading a book is like venturing into a virgin land that I know not much about. So, there are few comparisons, and unaided, heartfelt responses. 

The foreword by Vikram Doctor acts as a foreplay for the book. I have been a connoisseur of his articles in newspapers since long, so it was no surprise that I was bowled over yet again. His crisp knowledge about Queer Literature in Bombay is quite amazing. I could relate to it. We have had queerdom expressed as “bromance” “sismance” in our films and literature.

There is no “subtext” in this book. There is no reading-between-the-lines or implying, there are only wet vaginas and hard penises. Yes, the book is explicit. And that’s how erotica should be – like an unguided missile, making your heart beat faster, and you grow longer. 

My favorite in the Anthology is “Dreams and Desire in Srinagar”. This is a story that catapults you towards a new horizon. Michael Malik G has written a story that is almost a pictorial orgasmic screenplay. His story about his kashmiri fuck buddy, much younger than him, touches upon the young-old same sex romance in a beautiful way. His fantasies with the 20 something kashmiri houseboat owner, makes me want to visit Kashmir. This story was so erotic, that at the end of it, I realized it created a well-cuming. If you understand what I mean. 

I could quite relate to the The story Perfume by D'Lo, for I do know of people who have peculiar smell. Like my ex used to smell like a temple. Sweet and serene. I was transported to those times. This story made me realize the power of smell as a sensation to take back to memories and events that have long happened and how soon we remember the people associated with their particular smell.The fact that the two protagonists in this story were lesbian women wasn’t an interruption. It was a story that even people from all shades of sexuality would relate to. 

The transsexual woman story by Chicu – “Solioloquy” is awe inspiring. Especially the fact that the trans-woman addresses her mom as “adopted mother” was quite from the gut and the heart. The honesty by which the story is told gets you to seep inside the skin of the character and experience the angst of a trans-woman and the pride she has in having a body that is not anatomically in her nature, but that is sculptured as per her nature. 

I loved Shadowboxer by Nilofer. Watching it, I asked myself, where is the ME in the US. We often wish to enjoy other’s bodies, delve into sexual pleasures with the other. But one neednt compromise on self love in this quest about love with the others. I loved the illustrations that portrayed, how irrespective of being a lesbian couple, we still have our own fantasies and our own space. We may have sex easily but the joy fingering oneself alone in the night in the loo, imagining all fetishes and having an orgasm... and then quietly going to bed with your girlfrend who is already asleep,, we all need our space and have right to our wild fantasies right? 

Devdutt Patnaik adds god to queer. My friend Deep believes so too. His mythological interpretations never cease to amaze me. But in Close to Close i got to explore the erotic side of his writing in the story of the Marriage of Somvat and Sumedha, two friends from childhood who in order to marry women want to procure a cow from the king by feigning to be husband and wife when one of them cross dresses. But ultimately in the forest, in the cave, the long time friends realize that marriage to women would mean separation from each other and the transition from friendship to passion and love is what the story is about. The description of the entire act is sensuous to the power of infinity.... especially Devdutt intertwines nature so beautifully in their act of love making that I felt that nature is always celebrating communion. A communion beyond the boundaries of sex, gender and sexuality. In my campaigns on sex and sexuality, I often encounter people who don’t want to imagine that their parents had sex, and parents don’t want to think that their children have sex. And devdutt manages to speak lucidly about our gods having sex and also about the flavours of their sexuality. Hopefully we would have films based on his books. 

Since I would have a very queer perspective, as I am out and out and out a gay guy. I passed my book on to my friend Deepa Rebello, who is straight-but-not-narrow and thought it would be great to sum up the review that she mailed me after reading the book. She called me and almost sounded orgasmic in happiness. 

Just finished reading the book "close, too close " 

Awesome fantabulous brilliant are the words that come to my mind. This book is destined to be a bestseller in the erotica Simply unputdownable..
Although the book is based on queer erotica there is nothing queer about its just erotic plain and simple. It would appeal to the straights just as much it would appeal to the LGBT's.

The book transcends all barriers pertaining to gender and touches at the root of all human desires the need to be loved and pleasured.

The book is veered more towards lesbians(female lovers) than towards gays (male lovers). The stories comprising of female lovers for e.g. Pity that blush, Msbehave, The half day - is what makes up for a major part of the book. Its juicy contents and sentiments can be relished over and over again. However the book falls dry and flat when it comes to the gay love stories. It lacks the depth of the female counterparts which makes it a dry read at times while reading through the course of it. The book steers towards the female audiences more than the male ones . Could it be because the editors of the book are woman..? Nothing wrong there though.

Overall the book is a definite must pick and must read.

To order a copy of Close, Too Close Click here

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