May 2024
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Erotomania: A Romance, Francis Levy

I can only imagine the spam I’m going to get from this review, but here goes.  This is not a family-friendly book, so please, make sure the kids are away from the screen!

The basic summary of the book is that two people, who are the perfect sexual match for each other, meet randomly and start doing it.  All they’re interested in is having sex – the male main character, Jim, often can’t even remember what this woman looks like and certainly doesn’t know her name.  Nor does he seem to care for a while, all he wants is more.  As time goes on, he realizes that this is unhealthy and he seeks to know her name, her face, and eventually she kicks her boyfriend out and they move in together, attempting to form a relationship.  The relationship is similarly unhealthy, and they go to see a counselor.  Meanwhile, they begin to develop other interests, like television, food, and exercise, in the end becoming what appears to be a parody of a modern couple – one is overweight, the other exercises constantly, and they both are obsessed with television.

The idea behind Erotomania is tracking a couple through development.  They begin as “animals”.  After all, the purpose of an animal’s life is to stay alive and procreate.  They eat takeout almost exclusively, because animals don’t cook and forage for food.  When they learn each other’s names and move in together, they’ve transcended the animal phase, but they still mainly eat takeout and attempt procreation.  Luckily, no children ever result from this union.  Then the book starts in on the stereotypes as they become more “human”.  They go to a therapist who is obsessed with his own diagnoses and pays little attention to their actual problems.  They discover microwave cooking when Jim’s best gay friend, a chef, leaves them to find their own food.  They discover television, which quickly consumes their leisure time.  They even discover art, albeit in a way I’d never have expected.

The strangest part, perhaps, is that buried in all the sex and stereotypes, I could actually tell that the couple loved each other by the end.  The book’s subtitle is “a romance” and Erotomania pulls it off.  I never expected it to.  It’s a completely different approach and utterly unlike anything I’ve ever read before.  In all honesty, I was definitely bothered by the frequent swear words and the sex that pervades the entire book – it’s not my choice of reading material.  I’m still glad I did, though, as it certainly expanded my horizons.  There’s no denying that it’s interesting, and for someone who is interested in experimental literature, I’d recommend it. Buy this book on Amazon.

In the meantime, you can still enter to win Marie-Therese, Child of Terror by Susan Nagel here until Wednesday!


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