Nothing Natural

Jenny Diski, Author Simon & Schuster $16.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-63459-9
A candid, intelligent and insightful portrayal of the sadomasochistic personality, Diski's sexually explicit first novel may nevertheless offend readers of delicate sensibilities. Diski describes the three-year relationship between Rachel Kee, a 31-year-old London divorcee with a young daughter, and Joshua Abelman, her superficially charming but coldly manipulative, cruelly domineering lover. To her bewilderment and shame, Joshua's brutal lovemaking fulfills a need in Rachel to be submissive and suffer pain. Their encounters are at his erratic convenience, but Rachel finds herself increasingly dependent on Joshua's presence in her life. Eventually, she suffers an acute attack of depression, is hospitalized and recovers slowly. Only then does shealmost subconsciouslyset in motion a plan to revenge herself on Joshua and break his hold on her sexual fantasies. While the sadomasochistic encounters are clearly depicted, the novel should not be considered pornographic. The character development is sensitive and psychologically sound as Diski shows how Rachel's disturbed psyche is the result of emotional damage in childhood. Although the narrative loses some momentum in the chillingly accurate but nonetheless static scenes of Rachel's depressive breakdown, on the whole this is a compelling treatment of a difficult subject. Doubleday Book Club and Literary Guild alternates. (April)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1987
Release date: 04/01/1987
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-451-15662-4
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