Monday, October 25, 2010

Review - "Transported: Erotic Travel Tales"

Transported: Erotic Travel Tales
By Sharazade

For me, this book already had two big plus marks beside it, before I even opened it. As a smut writer and a lifelong, but lapsed, traveller, I was enticed by the concept of combining sex with travel. I’m also a big fan of Sharazade’s blog page, and her insightful attitudes. I will try not to let that interfere, your honour.

Even had I not known of Sharazade’s background, it would have been apparent to me that this woman knows her way around the maze of the English language. I fear I’m about to admit to being a nerd, or geek, or whatever term is currently fashionable for the unfashionable. To me, sublime navigation and fluent control of language is so, soooooo sexy. And Sharazade has it in spades.

Within the first pages of this anthology it also becomes clear that Sharazade has travelled. Really travelled. Cold airports take on the qualities of landscapes. Details, some large, some almost infinitesimal, permeate every page of every story, giving this entire collection a sharp and sculpted feel.

Shar’s word choices are consistently pleasing, too, as much for their appropriateness as for their novelty. In context it could seem as if those two terms are contradictory, but I feel they fit the writing perfectly. While avoiding clich├ęs, the occasional atypical word choices employed sit so comfortably in their places that they enliven the entire anthology. From the first story in the collection, ‘Schiphol’:

“And finally, finally you enter me. Slowly, so I can feel every blessed inch fill me.”

The use of “blessed” is a perfect example. A dual meaning, because of the context of the story. This couple regularly endures long periods of separation. Their togetherness is by necessity cramped, by both time and space. And at that moment, all the control is with him. “Blessed” allows her to expel some of her frustration, whilst celebrating the reverential bliss of physical intimacy.

In my opening paragraph I alluded to this book being all about sex and travel. That’s actually misleading. In truth, the sex and the travel frame these stories and this collection. What it’s truly about is characters. Relationships. And Sharazade paints these with enviable dexterity.

She allows us to see characters through many-layered filters. Sometimes it’s as they see themselves. Often it’s a far more weighted assessment. It’s as they see themselves reflected through others’ actions or inactions, or through their own interpretation of others’ words.

In “Flaws” (my favourite story in the anthology), we find a character who plays emotional chess with her self-image. She uses her personal history to plan six moves ahead. It’s almost like a hall-of-mirrors, with characteristics both reflected and absorbed, through her own eyes and her intuition about the eyes of others. And she’s compelling. And she's witty. And so damn sexy.

Throughout the anthology, the characters and situations come across not just as real, but also as realistic. It’s to be expected that bodies would grind against each other, and they do so with heart, passion and often a degree of restriction. What elevates this book even more are the moments when the characters grate against each other. Travel is a stressful undertaking. The world is variegated and confusing. Anger is a passion.

I found every story to be a wonderful example of fine writing. Not just fine as in “of high quality”, but the type of “fine” with which you would preface “wine”, “detail” or “hair”. It’s all about context.

I highly recommend this book.

Available from Amazon and Smashwords (and a bunch of other naughty websites).

1 comment:

Rie McGaha said...

Nice! Congrats.

Rie McGaha...fantasy that keeps you up