Two novels, two young women at the frontiers of sex.Like a series of Penthouse letters penned by Kathy Acker, Lie With Me recounts a woman's sexual escapades, picking up random men in bars for a series of increasingly extreme encounters, hoping to understand love from the far side of sluttiness.In The Way of the Whore, Mira, an introverted Jewish girl obsessed with Jean GeTwo novels, two young women at the frontiers of sex.Like a series of Penthouse letters penned by Kathy Acker, Lie With Me recounts a woman's sexual escapades, picking up random men in bars for a series of increasingly extreme encounters, hoping to understand love from the far side of sluttiness.In The Way of the Whore, Mira, an introverted Jewish girl obsessed with Jean Genet, allows herself to be seduced by the sex industry, determined to find meaning in her tormented relationships with cruel men.Tamara Faith Berger's first two novels have been languishing out of print. They were scandalous when they were first published; substantially revised and returned to print, they're just as titillating and troubling now."Treading a line between sublime experimentation and unsettling honesty, Little Cat rides a wave of female sexual energy. . . . 'Please, I want you to stay with me till it's over,' the narrator of 'Lie With Me' begs. With writing this good, it's hard not to.' – Quill & Quire"Berger's writing is significant, poignant and consciously uncomfortable. Her portrait of female sexuality is daring, original and troubling. Berger's language is crass; this isn't missionary-style 'love-making.' This is dirty, animalistic sex. This is pornography rubbing up against the literary establishment." – Telegraph-JournalPraise for Tamara Faith Berger's Maidenhead (winner of the 2012 Believer Book Award):"Myra's confusion, her passion, her need for possession and to be possessed, make this novel an incredible read, finding its place, as Sheila Heti (who should know) wrote, 'somewhere between the wilds of Judy Blume, Girls Gone Wild and Michel Foucault.'" – Flavorwire"There are no easy moments, no comfort to be found in the searing prose. . . . When writers get young female sexuality right, stories become a revelation and such is the case with Maidenhead. The writing pulls the reader desperately close." – Roxane Gay, The RumpusTamara Faith Berger was born in Toronto. She wrote porn stories for a living and attempted to make dirty films before publishing her first book, Lie With Me, in 1999. It was made into a film in 2004. In 2001, A Woman Alone at Night was published. Her third book, Maidenhead, won the 2012 Believer Book Award....
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Little Cat Reviews
I saw the film adaptation of Lie with Me, which is one of the two novels in this book collection. The movie, an entry at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival, depicts very graphic sexual scenes (and I read somewhere that the act had been done for real) and is about a nymphomaniac trying to draw the line between love and lust. The other novel in this book, The Way of the Whore, talks about a 15-year old girl who has experienced sex at a tender age and is trying to come to terms with her sexuality and relationship with men. The two stories are brazenly honest; both try to delve into the psychology of female sexuality and appeal against slut shaming, but they are not altogether insightful, thought-provoking, and necessary for me. This book is just one of those porn-needed-fiction materials, as the author suggests, and is not really my cup of tea.
I read this book based on a review I read in the Globe and Mail (link is here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/b...) and after liking Maidenhead. This book is disturbing at times a hard read. In her afterword, the author says that 'porn needs a story' and I think that's what this book is.
SEXUAL LANGUAGE, STRONG SEXUAL CONTENT 4 1/2 starsThis book holds two previously-published and unnoticed short novels, reworked a little. The first, "Lie with Me", begins as the first-person narrative of a young woman who repeatedly picks-up men for sex, especially fellatio; then turns to first-person accounts by men who she brings home to an increasingly dirty apartment for sex that becomes increasingly wild and scary (for the men). She has one longer relationship that breaks-down in sexual impasse.This story deserves adjectives like searing, visceral, arousing, disgusting, and horrifying; reading it was a physical experience. It was also a thoughtful experience, thoughts about compulsion to repeat. Alice Miller, a German psychoanalyst, in The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self talks about the repetition of acts that are like a childhood trauma, for example, a person who was sexually-abused as a child going through a series of abusive relationships as an adult. She says these repetitions are an attempt to get the traumatic situation right, to come out on top, and so are an attempt to heal. Another thought is (heterosexual) porn as radical objectification, destruction of the sujectivity of women. This story takes the trope from "Deep Throat", founding event of porn crossing into mainstream culture, and makes the woman actor, rather than acted on--attempting to gain and define her subjectivity. One of the male narratives takes another porn trope, a man with two women, and turns it inside-out by making the women the initiators and centers of the action, while the man experiences his own objectification, likes it, and is ultimately afraid of it.There is no history for the woman in this story, and little or no reflection. She does have a project.The second story, "The Way of the Whore", is a first-person narrative of a young, middle-class, Jewish-Canadian woman's initial attraction to prostitution, her introduction to it, and her journey of self-discovery as a prostitute. She puts herself in situations that put her life at risk, abandons family and friends, and falls in love with a pimp. On the surface this is not the usual path to wisdom, but the story follows elements of Joseph Campbell's myth of the hero's journey: The call to adventure; crossing the threshold; the cave; and the ordeal. The treasure, the wisdom, she finds, is ambiguous, but she does believe she has arrived somewhere
Although I recall quite liking Maidenhead, neither of these stories rang true for me. They read like the first novels of a porn writer searching to make the connection to a deeper commentary on female sexuality (which, frankly, they are) but with a deeply nihilist perspective.
Excellent, disturbing, thought-provoking, necessary.
This collected edition of Faith-Berger's first two novels, edited and updated, is a difficult but worthwhile read.
Read an excerpt on Joyland here: http://www.joylandmagazine.com/storie...
All thoughts are here: http://jacquelinevalencia.com/2014/06...