cover image Your Name Written on Water: An Erotic Novel

Your Name Written on Water: An Erotic Novel

Irene Gonzalez Frei, Irene Gonzalez Frei. Grove Press, $12 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-8021-3648-0

A bestseller in Spain, this graphic and sensuous first novel by the pseudonymous Frei explores the outer limits of sexual pleasure and danger. When 28-year-old Sofia first met her husband, Santiago, their erotic appetites were insatiable, but over time Santiago's rapacious, possessive carnalities become brutal. When he beats her badly during sex, causing a miscarriage, she rebuffs him completely. Taking a break from her job at a Madrid art gallery, Sofia goes to a community pool where she meets a woman called Marina, who is her exact double. Quickly and wordlessly, the two women maneuver out of their bathing suits and become mutually and instantly obsessed. Their intoxicating connection verges on autoeroticism, narcissism (""How can you say Narcissus loves himself when he only wishes to satisfy his double?"") and incest (they pretend to be sisters). The two run away to Italy together, where they spend six idyllic months in sexual exploration. Unable to bear existence as two separate people, they invent a woman they name Clara, who is the imaginary, amalgamated synthesis of both of them. Their erotic escapades are sometimes Ana s Nin-like poetic fantasies, and sometimes graphic, scatological rituals. When the violently jealous Santiago tracks them down and exacts revenge for the emasculating insult of his wife's abandonment, savagery ensues. Despite the hair-raising finale and an annoying abundance of clinical anatomical terms, the book is sensual and psychologically savvy. Its interrogation of heterosexual, homosexual and transsexual desires quivers with intelligence, heat and heart. (Oct.)