Monday, February 20, 2012

Trompe-l'oeil by Russel Bittner

Why would a woman entering middle age--attractive, sexy, articulate, imaginative, intelligent,
Why would a woman entering middle age--attractive, sexy, articulate, imaginative, intelligent, charming, charismatic, wealthy and successful in almost every aspect of her life--knowingly give up the only thing missing from that life: namely, love? And love with a younger man she meets serendipitously not once, but three times--and whose appreciation of her quickly grows from mere physical attraction to adoration and then to obsession? The riddle from start to finish is perhaps to be found in the word "knowingly." The answer to that riddle? Revealed only in the final chapter.

DANEKA S├śRENSEN is a Danish transplant to NYC, where she manages her life from an Upper East Side apartment building by night and from the top floor of a mid-town skyscraper by day--ostensibly, all under tight control. KIT ADDISON is a fashion photographer with a sideline penchant for flora and poetry who lives on the Lower East Side. The distance between them, however, is about much more than a mere hundred city blocks.

In Chapter One, serendipity brings Daneka and Kit together for the first time as both are exiting the Columbia campus--she from a poetry class in which she dabbles once a week, he from Philosophy Hall in which he labors days and nights without respite. This first encounter is both poetic and philosophical--but too hot to be captured in a mere haiku, too impulsive to be squeezed into an imperative, moral or historical, for either of them. At the start of Chapter Two, already eleven years later, they--or rather his camera and the front bumper of her limousine--meet a second time on a zebra crossing. Her search for a photographer for a special project (too hot and too imperative for any of the more than competent staff of a major magazine of which she is the Managing Editor) leads to a third serendipitous meeting. What follows these three meetings is, in the coming weeks, a game of cat and mouse--until, that is, their affair becomes such that "it seemed as if they might engulf each other in this single, ferocious act, like tigers chasing their own tails and slowly churning, turning, burning into butter."

Their affair takes them from New York to Paris, to the coast of Portugal, to Rome and Positano, Italy, to the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea, then back to New York City. What they discover about each other in those few weeks is more than most people discover in a mate or lover over a lifetime. The exploration is an erotic Elysian field, but also a psychological inferno.

What gradually comes to light in the space of two continents and one return transatlantic flight is that, while love's bite may initially be sweet, the aftertaste may be exceedingly bitter--when not downright nauseating.
My Review:

The human psyche has quite often fascinated me.  It bends, compromises, breaks, and more often than not, punishes itself.  How often have you witnessed a behavior or peculiar habit and thought why does he/she do that? Daneka, one of our main focal points in this lavishly erotic tale, has several such habits that are quite fascinating.  She is a complex and utterly fascinating character that tries to escape her past by locking her dark secrets away.  Unfortunately, our past helps shape us, for good or bad, and  always finds a way to break through to the surface.  Such is the case in her dealings with Kit.  Her carefully erected facade begins to chip away under his continual presence and uncontrollable emotions tumble forth.  Emotions, that Daneka has been able to bury and deny the existence of.  She chooses instead to concentrate instead on sensations, and uses her erotic dabblings as an outlet.

This story is about their romance.  It takes you through their first erotic encounter, to the next professional one, and through the downward spiral of their relationship.  This book is an exceedingly volatile roll-coaster ride through the erotic decadence in which their relationship springs forth.  Their passion burns hot, and their sexual encounters throughout their travels are each more sensually erotic than the last.  But complexity that makes Daneka's character so fascinating, could be the breaking point in the relationship.  As worldly as Kit seems to be, Daneka brings a whole other edge, to which in my opinion, proves too much for Kit to handle.  Communication is such a fragile thing but it is completely necessary for the growth into something more.  Can these two characters climb out of their heads and bring to the table the necessary attributes needed to make this love affair last?

This was a fascinating read.  It was erotically off the charts and gives you a taste of the darker side of passion.  I enjoyed this book even though many parts of it made me sad.  It also makes you reconsider some situations in your own past, and how you may view them differently now.  The full picture can be heartbreaking.  I'm glad, in the end, that I was able to review this book.  I look forward to reading more from this author.

1 comment:

VampedChik said...

Sounds like an interesting read! I will have to check it out! Thanks!

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