Skin: Sensual Tales

Catharine Hiller, Author, Catherine Hiller, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $8.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-7867-0435-4
In 13 stories, the author of 17 Morton Street explores several connotations of skin, notably its role as both a boundary and a lure to pleasure. In ""Bad Sex,"" a beautiful married woman who has ""rules'' about adultery is inexplicably attracted to a dumpy man; surprised by their fun in bed, she is anguished about ending the affair. We learn, in ""The Perfect Aphrodisiac,"" that the so-called New Journalism (a style of more involved and personal reporting) can be traced to an experimental program at Yale where a professor enjoined his students to ""learn from the loins."" Determined to have an affair as she writes a breakthrough novel, the protagonist of ""Yearning at Yaddo"" can't find an appropriate partner; so she cheats on her novel instead, by writing a ""rogue"" short story. ""Green Silk Panties"" celebrates the joys of taking a young lover. Not every tale is pure whimsy. On a visit to Rome, a happily married American woman recalls in, ""Piazza del Populo,"" being cruelly seduced and debased by two gay Italian men. The final story, ""The Pleasures of the Text,"" portrays a 13-year-old girl who composes intricate stories about sex before she falls asleep each night. No wandering daydreams, her vignettes follow definite rules of plot, motivation, theme and character: ""I had high standards,"" she tells us. ""My aesthetics were lofty; my mind, in the gutter."" Though obviously not for the prudish, these nicely observed, gently ironic tales are a celebration of life inside and outside the epidermis. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/28/1997
Release date: 05/01/1997
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