Jackson’s third Pleasure Quartet novel comes as a disappointment after its more satisfying predecessor, Winter. It is overblown erotica, from the yonic iris on its cover to the narrative of two young women’s lives forever changed by the Ball, a legendary, secretive orgy. Moana and Iris, best friends and lovers, attend the event after a recommendation from Iris’s grandmother Joan, who was once linked to the Ball. After Joan’s death, they follow her advice to move from New Zealand to a tiny London flat. Iris devastates Moana by taking up with a wealthy young man who sees the submissive in her that Moana missed. Moana follows a more dissatisfied trajectory when she discovers Joan’s diaries from the 1920s–40s—in which she chronicled her work as a prostitute, a career she reluctantly took on due to financial need—and decides to use them as a sexual blueprint. Though the diaries are the book’s most intriguing aspect, Moana’s use of another woman’s coerced experiences as a template manages to be lurid and decidedly unsexy. Agent: Sarah Such, Sarah Such Literary Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/14/2015 Release date: 02/01/2016 Genre: Fiction
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