Prayer-Cushions of the Flesh

Robert Irwin, Author Dedalus, $11.99 (140p) ISBN 978-1-873982-63-1
Sex is theatrical warfare between men and women in British novelist and Middle East scholar Irwin's erotic fantasy set in a Turkish harem. Like a cross between a Fellini movie and The Arabian Nights, this outrageous, often wickedly funny novel spins baroque tales that careen to the outer limits of sexuality. Prince Orkhan, freed at age 20 from the Cage, a prison within Istanbul's imperial harem where he languished for 15 years, assumes the sultan's throne from his dead father and, sex-starved, plunges into his erotic education. His tutors include Anadil, a talkative concubine who teaches him a poetic new sexual vocabulary; Roxelana, a leather-clad animal trainer who likes being whipped to drive out the jinns that possess her; and the washerwoman Perizade, a self-styled phallomancer who tells fortunes by reading the male sex organ. These characters, and others too, are all masquerading as ""part of the Harem's spiritual theatre""--all props designed to spur Orkhan in his psychosexual evolution. With irreverent wit and wild imagination, Irwin's arabesque mocks Western notions of the Orient as a sexual eden, while also turning upside-down conventional ""Eastern"" themes such as destiny, sex as cosmic union and women's subservience. Irwin's weird hothouse bloom is a philosophic sex comedy, a hypnotic entertainment with a serious underside, though not for the prudish, featuring as it does the erotic secrets of concubines, homosexual giraffes and many episodes of lushly described polysexual carnalities. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1999
Release date: 02/01/1999
Paperback - 140 pages - 978-1-58567-688-0
Open Ebook - 978-1-322-52476-4
Open Ebook - 140 pages - 978-1-4683-0776-4
Open Ebook - 72 pages - 978-1-909232-07-5
Hardcover - 140 pages - 978-1-58567-220-2
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