Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Mammoth Book of Lesbian Er0tica edited by Barbara Cardy

Earlier in the year I won the Mammoth Book of Gay Er0tica in the LGBT Reading Challenge.
You can read my review of that book here. I enjoyed most of the stories in that book so looked forward to reading the Mammoth Book of Lesbian Er0tica that I also won in the LGBT Reading Challenge.

Unfortunately I was disappointed in most of the stories in this book. Many of them were more pornography than erotica with not enough narrative to make them interesting. Often the sex centred purely around 'how many interesting positions can we work into this?' rather than allowing for any emotional content and there was a surprising inability in many of the writers to genuinely build up sexual tension. For example there were the overly politically correct stories. Now I think Er0tica is a great way to address issues such as body image or even office politics, but to interrupt a sex scene so the characters can have an in depth discussion of these issues, just isn't erotic. I was also disappointed in how so many of the characters were defined by men. I know that the 'coming out' story is an important one but surely these days more women should be able to define their sexuality without reference to men (particularly in a collection of lesbian er0tica). I admit I quite enjoyed the couple of genuinely bisexual stories here but I'm not sure they should have a place in a lesbian publication. And in the one story that ended with a lecherous old male patient in the nursing home leching over the two female nurses who had just had sex, why for goodness sake couldn't it have been an elderly female patient?

I've not actually finished the book yet, it's slow work. However it is worth mentioning the couple of stories so far that I have really enjoyed: Inside by Cheryl Moch is a beautifully written story about an artist who lives on an isolated coastline whose life is changed by a visit from a mysterious woman. And Then She Kissed Me by Rita Winchester is a lovely story about two neighbours who fall in love, there's a real sense of the developing feelings between the two before they finally get together and the sex is tender and believable.

The Mammoth Book of Lesbian Er0tica edited by Barbara Cardy, published by Constable Robinson

For the LGBT Reading Challenge

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