Review: Close, too close 

This book is a very amazing collection of stories in the erotica genre. Leave aside the queer tag, these are genuinely hot stories.  And most go beyond erotica.

A moment for a sidenote , when I say that they go beyond erotica, I do not mean that the sex is portrayed classily or it’s not something to turn you on. What I wish to convey is that the stories are so much more than just that. They turn you on like the best of erotica, but the imprint they leave is more than a hot story.

                Erotica has always been regarded, at least in mainstream literary erotica, as something heterosexual vanilla. This is obviously not the case with erotica in kindle sales but in print,it is still true (where people can more privately cater to their own kinks)(Google trends in erotica for Amazon online sales, you’ll find multiple references)even a collection published some years ago, Desilicious, which aimed to go beyond traditional portrayals of South Asian erotica featured few non traditional stories. (Though it is also a very good collection) This book is a breath of fresh air just for the honest look at sex in India and how openness about sex is not just limited to the young, urban crowd. Erotica stories often feature the glamorous, the independent no hassle zone of the young ,independent ,middle class person ,but the straying from the norm does wonders for this collection cause it makes it that much easier to imagine you are a character.

                Coming to the main feature of this book, “Queerness”. It , of course, does not portray all levels of sexuality, gender identity and relationships, but the one’s it does , it does beautifully. Also, again ,going back to the mundane every day nature if the queerness, that further highlights how these groups have always been present in the Indian cultural landscape, but forever ignored.

                The stories also not only portray differentness in regards to sexuality and gender, but also portrayals of gender and other handicaps. One of the memorable stories is about a handicapped woman in a wheelchair playing a kissing guessing game with her fiends while blindfolded.  A graphic novel about a woman masturbating only shows in one pane that she has a female partner. The story is about her masturbating and its normalcy.

                Another thing beautifully shown in the book is how not every memorable relationship with attraction has to be about sex. Two people can recognize they are attracted to each other, stay friends and not have sex. What a wild concept indeed! But one that sitcoms refuse to acknowledge.

The bad- Some stories have kinks I’m not comfortable with. Casual sex with friends and abuse role-play. But the role-play one was also one of the hardest hitting a nd best written ones, so forgiven. Also, one of my favourite writers, Devdutt Pattanaik wrote the only bad story in the bunch. I just skimmed through that.  

                Rating – read it for the erotica , appreciate it for the openness and acceptance of you and your every fantasy.

                P.S.- I would like to stress for first time straight readers of queer erotica, it will still turn you on. Since I’m an avid reader of fanfiction , a genre in which you can’t avoid queer sex even if you wish too, it was hardly my first foray into queer erotica. But for first time readers, some of the stories may not be erotic for you and that’s fine , everyone has their things. But if you find yourselves turned on, don’t worry, you’re still straight as a geometry box ruler. Fantasy and sexuality are not the same. Relax and enjoy the read.( and if you aren’t straight, what are you even reading this sub note for?)

 

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