Friday, 17 July 2015

He & She by Wayne Clark


From Goodreads

*** 5-star Silver Medal winner in the 2014 Readers' Favorite Annual International Award Contest ***

What does a man do when nothing tastes good anymore? he finds She.
A Web photo of a dominatrix sends a man in midlife crisis on a last-ditch attempt to feel truly alive one more time, even if it kills him.

"... a stylish piece of literary fiction... intellectually engaging throughout. A finely drawn portrait of desire in its fall and winter seasons."- BlueInk Review
"...All in all, this is a delectable novel about a man exploring his unknown sexual fantasies at the price of possibly losing his true self along the way."- Red City Review

Growing numb to life, to his on-and-off girlfriend of many years, his career, even Scotch, a man turns fifty. He is a translator who can no longer dream of translating beautiful works of fiction. He is an amateur musician who can no longer dream of expressing his life on a higher plane, without words. As he glares inside himself he sees little but his declining sexuality, his crumbling hold on life, a growing list of failed relationships, and a darkening well of loneliness.

Stumbling upon an image on the Internet one night, he suddenly hears cell doors sliding open. He stares at a young woman, in profile, beautiful, unblinking, regal. Instinctively he knows that by lingering on that image he will shatter a relationship that has kept him on the sane side of loneliness as surely as if he stepped in front of a speeding eighteen-wheeler. But desperate to feel alive again before time runs out, he knows he must see the stranger behind the pixels on his laptop screen.

Although it is her image that first transfixes him, his eye afterwards chances on a handful of words on the Internet page. She is a dominatrix. The word triggers something inside him, blows the dust off fantasies trickling back to adolescence, and slowly begins to re-choreograph his decades of sexual memories. Was he ever really the dominant male he thought he was? Did he have a sexual alter-ego? Was this the last card he had to play in life? The face on the screen held the answer. He would find out even if it killed him.

My thoughts

My thanks to the Publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

I gave this a 7/10.

This is the story of K a middle aged man who's life appears to be going nowhere fast. With little chance of finding a meaningful relationship he tries to find solace on the Internet. He develops an unhealthy interest in a young woman with a penchant for giving pain, she is a dominatrix and by meeting her she awakens in him a dormant side of his sexuality. This dormant side soon becomes an all consuming passion for him and he finds that he needs more of the same. We are taken on a journey of his discovery of the need in him to be dominated in order to fulfil his sexual needs.

As we meet K we are introduced to him in middle age in a prologue which is quite a hard hitting read, we realise that no matter what illnesses we go through it proves that our sexuality and needs are still there.

The story of K's life is told in some detail throughout the book, from being a young man through to middle age. The choices he makes are not always the best ones for him, we the reader can see that but they are the ones that he feels are the best for him. Sometimes fate decides the outcome of certain situations for him and any choices that he might have are taken out of his hands.

It's quite a heavy going story at times and it explores the sexual needs and desires of men as they go through life. That sexual need in them never seems to tire and they seek it where and when they can. It shows how easily they can be led at times and at times I felt that K was rather naive and a little gullible.

I found this quite a hard story to review if I'm honest. It's interesting to read a story written by a man about a man who develops a need to be dominated in order to find some sexual gratification. It's a refreshing change from all the other erotic reads that are written from the perspective of the female being the one who is dominated.  

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