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Monday, September 08, 2003
The Penguin Book of Erotic Stories by Women 

Title: The Penguin Book of
   Erotic Stories by Women
Editors: R. G. Jones and
   A. S. Williams
Category: Fiction - Short Stories
Rating: 9/10
Not many people read short stories for fun. In our part of the world, when we talk about reading for pleasure, what comes to mind is often the novel. Now if you are a lazy person like yours truly, the short story offers that quick route to escapism - it doesn't take too much of your time and the plot is quick and less complex.

This is an anthology published by Penguin, the world famous publishing firm of literature texts. Anthologies encompass compilations of the same genre, and the title is explicit (so is the book cover). In this book there are 31 stories written with an erotic theme. The writers are all women, they come from all over the world: from Japan, to France to Botswana, Peru, Russia. They are arranged in a chronological order, dating from the 1880s to the mid 1990s, and thus, one can expect a rich and diverse collection of works by talented female writers.

Many of the writers are world reknown figures in literatire, and one of the best known short stories of this genre (which is, incidentally, one of the most studied short stories by women also) happens to be in this book. If you purchse this book, first turn to page 19 for Kate Chopin's The Storm. Read about Calixta, who is caught in a loveless marriage, as she seeks temporary asylum in the raging winds and downpour of a quick storm with her old lover while her husband and children are trapped in town. We have Katherine Mansfield and Edith Wharton as a few of the more famous names. Botswana's Bessie Head (who wrote Looking for a Rain God - that shocking story in the Form Five Literature Component) has a story here as well.

Is the language explicit?

Well, explicit enough. Not enough to give one an orgasm, if I may say that. If you want to know what it is like in an S & M parlour in Japan, read it from the eyes of an S & M whore. Amy Yamada titles it Kneel Down and Lick My Feet. This story gets a bit graphical towards the end, but nothing orgasmic, like I said. An eye-opener yes. In fact all stories are eye-openers. As you progress with the age in which each story is written, you notice that the writers get bolder and bolder. Reading the stories opens a window into the lives, the trials and tribulations of women through time, as they fight against the chains and bondages of patriachal rules and discrimination. The stories are voices of pent-up frustrations, not necessarily sexual, but more so a strong reflection of the strength of these women, and how they have gained momentum and recognition through the ages to pick up the courage and deliberation to pen down this down in the form of erotic literature.

This is no Penthouse or Playboy. This is a work of art.

Footnote: For a sampling of women's erotica, the full version of The Storm is available online here.

minishorts  # 6:39 PM
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