cover image Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey

Edited by Lori Perkins. BenBella/Smart Pop (Perseus, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-937856-42-7

In this fascinating examination of E.L. James’s Fifty Shades trilogy, edited by literary agent Perkins, 50 writers—including erotica and erotic romance authors, a matrimonial lawyer, an English professor, and BDSM practitioners—analyze the novel’s game-changing effect on the publishing world. Divided into seven sections—writing, romance, erotic fiction, sex, BDSM, fan fiction, and pop culture, along with a hilarious parody of the story in an “intermission” and an appendix with a suggested reading list—the book thoughtfully dissects the various aspects of the bestseller. Essayists credit a perfect storm of factors for James’s success: among them, the rise of e-readers and e-book publishers such as Ellora’s Cave, which allow women to buy and read erotica without embarrassment, and the viral nature of the Internet and fan fiction. The novel “forced the traditional publishing industry to accept that women have always enjoyed erotic romance,” notes literary agent Louise Fury. The subject certainly inspires passion in its contributors: several praise the book for giving women permission to be sexual beings, while others castigate James for promulgating abuse and stalker behavior, and others examine hero Christian Grey in the context of Byronic heroes. Love Fifty Shades or hate it, this engaging and eclectic read has a little bit of something for everyone. Agent: Louise Fury, L. Perkins Agency.(Nov.)