The Other Side of Desire: Four Journeys into the Far Realms of Lust and Longing

Daniel Bergner, Author
Daniel Bergner, Author . Ecco $24.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-06-088556-4
Reviewed on: 11/03/2008
Release date: 02/01/2009
Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-06-175986-4
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-06-175980-2
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-06-088557-1
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 224 pages - 978-0-06-175983-3
Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-06-184218-4
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As if it weren't already difficult enough to find a suitable mate, what if a prerequisite was that the lover be missing an arm or a leg? Or willing to be roasted on a spit? Comparatively, a mild-mannered foot fetish seems, well, pedestrian. Bergner (God of the Rodeo ) investigates how “we become who we are sexually, whether our lusts are common or improbable.” The book's combination of titillation, shock value and documentary evokes a set of page-turning conundrums: is a man who desires feet any less odd than the psychiatrist who treats him or the scientist who studies pedophilia or the journalist who describes a whipping session in precise detail or the reader who becomes voyeur? It's all fairly delicate and disturbing material, and while the descriptions can grow florid, the author's strongest moments (e.g., evoking the tabooed desires impelling the artist Hans Bellmer's work) compensate for the lapse. Bergner has an empathetic sensibility and convincingly suggests that what a fetishist needs is a willing and loving partner with complementary interests. (Feb.)

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