My Rating ****
He & She by Wayne Clark is a book which compels you to think hard. While the book will leave you unsettled, it will be in a good way. Adulthood has been described by psychologists where the individual has a maturity and an ability of independent decision making. With the use of this insight into human nature, the reading of Wayne Clark’s He & She certainly gets a new dimension. This is the story of Kit Cayman (or K) who extensively indulges in sexual fantasies. Fantasizing about sex for K is no ordinary matter. On the other hand, it is an ‘aesthetic experience’ from which maximum delight has to be drawn. It is these sexual fantasies that gave a sense of completion to him. This novel is mostly about K in various phases of his life. However, this novel is not just the story of K and his sexual fantasies. The novel is much more. This is a remarkable narrative to discover how diverse and complicated the sexuality can be. More importantly, it is in my view also the record of K’s attempt to come on to his own and to carve a niche for him in the intriguing world of adults.
You must have got an idea about the book. However, following is a better description (taken from Goodreads):
“A Web photo of a dominatrix sends a man on a last-ditch attempt to feel truly alive one more time, even if it kills him. 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.”
To be frank, I was quite apprehensive when I started reading the book. I was not sure whether I will be able to finish this book or not. However, to my surprise, I was very soon hooked. The story slowly but steadily started to conquer my mind and I kept reading. Very soon, I also fell completely for the main character. Thanks to the craftsmanship of the novelist, K is alive as a character. The excitement and tension that prevail in K’s world are authentically portrayed. The character of K was described with such a passion that you automatically root for him in difficult situations. His sufferings quite often brings lump in your throat. His development as a character in the story is done remarkably and the author certainly deserves lots of praises for that. The women characters though could have been dealt in much better way. However, this is the story of K and there should be no complain.
This book is not a causal read as the book keeps forcing you to think on. So, keep your thinking cap on if you are planning to read this book. While some readers may complain that the book is too lengthy, this is a good length to travel on. I can ensure you that you will enjoy this sensual and touching journey. Although the book can be placed in the categories of erotic novels, there isn’t a lot of explicit sex. And it is not the sex scenes but the captivating storyline that leaves a long lasting impression. The end pages are beautifully written, particularly the last chapter. This chapter contains all the essence of the story. However, one needs to read the whole book to get that essence.
Kudos to Wayne Clark for crafting a fascinating and insightful tale…:)
(I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange of an honest review.)