Anonymous Sex

Edited by Hillary Jordan and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan. Scribner, $18.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-982177-51-5
Jordan (Mudbound) and Tan (Sarong Party Girls) assemble a literary erotica anthology with a coy twist: individual stories aren’t attributed, allowing readers to guess which of the decorated contributors—including Louise Erdrich, Helen Oyeyemi, and Edmund White—wrote what. The hush-hush conceit is fun, though it may lead readers to expect these 27 stories to be more scandalous than they are; taboos are largely unbroken and too few authors go all in on sexiness. The self-consciously meta “Posseeblay” sees married writers insisting that “nobody ever writes real sex,” as if “boring and awkward and mundane and disappointing” sex weren’t abundant in contemporary fiction. “En Suite” offers a stronger portrayal of clumsy sex, with a drunken kiss between best friends leading to a funny, tender tale, but the oddly retrograde “LVIII Times a Year” tries for a slapstick approach and falls flat. The writers who embrace erotic fantasy fare better: standouts include “History Lesson,” a BDSM story that builds real anticipation in few pages; the steamy fairy tale “Rapunzel, Rapunzel”; and the unabashedly dreamy “Find Me.” Noteworthy is the international scope of the stories’ settings, which gives rise to one of the highlights in the enigmatic, Hong Kong–set “Hard at Play.” Though uneven, there’s plenty to make this worthwhile. Agent: Chris Parris-Lamb, Gernert. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 10/21/2021
Release date: 02/01/2022
Genre: Romance/Erotica
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-9821-7753-9
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-3718-6
Hardcover - 368 pages - 978-1-9821-7752-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-3720-9
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