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Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray: A Novel (English Edition) Kindle-editie
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Let’s go back to Oscar Wilde’s creation for a moment. There we watch the spiral downward of a previously chaste and good man whose portrait allows him to stay young and invulnerable to the physical world. But not to the moral world. He finally succumbs to his own self-hatred, and we end up with something of a moral lesson and a real portrait of Dorian Gray. In short, the character changes over the breadth of the novel as we watch his humanity ebb and flow.
Not so with Szereto’s character. He’s the same from beginning to end despite her attempt at convincing us of his regaining a better nature at the conclusion of the book. The fact that he ‘redeems’ himself by murdering Patrice is one factor that belies the author’s attempt. No, what we have is a novel grown too long and the writer’s scheme to end the story that has run out of steam not to say interest.
One thing has to be said for Ms Szereto. She is masterful at describing in great detail and variety the many sex scenes that feed this otherwise monstrous tale.
Because I didn't read the original, I don't know how true Szereto wrote Dorian Gray to the way Wilde wrote the character, but that didn't matter as I read this. Szereto's Gray gets into some very imaginative scenarios, starting with a run-in with some very famous expatriate American writers in Paris. This chapter is fun. The tale becomes quick a bit darker in the next setting, and the darkness continues as Gray spirals downward into total depravity.
Dorian is a b*stard, but it's a fantastically well-told story. Still, even Dorian Gray has some hope for redemption, and the ending of this novel is very fitting.
In the past I've enjoyed Szereto's signature blend of erotica and humor, so this novel is a definite change of pace from what I'm used to from this author. I like it. It confirms once and for all that Szereto is a well-rounded and talented novelist.
Worth owning, this.
The premise is simple. Dorian Gray (he who vowed to live a life of unapologetic decadence and depravity, somehow gaining eternal youth while his portrait aged and decayed) did not die as he had to during Oscar Wilde's time, a time when this final punishment was demanded to offset the rest of the titillating story. Instead, it's explained, his death was faked so he could go on delving ever deeper into his twisted desires. Few things are left out here as Dorian revels in his freedom to be just as bad as he wants to be. Some of it turned me on. Some of it turned my stomach. But, like all truly great erotica, everything contributed to the story, and it all had a purpose. It all fit. Where the original book had the cadence of a carriage ride through the countryside, this one was more like a ride on the Orient Express, a ride where the devil took the wheel a few times.
The settings are lush and varied. Paris. New Orleans. Marrakesh. Peru. Again, this plays into the sense of diving headfirst into something strange and exotic, a foreign place for most of us where anything can happen next, and nothing is off limits. There's a lack of control for the reader that plays into the experiences had by Dorian. And then, Dorian meets creatures even more depraved and soulless than he has become, and the story offers hope as it seems Dorian (who started off in Oscar's tale as such a likable chap, don't forget) might still redeem himself.
I won't give away the ending, but will say that it was perfect. Exactly what needed to happen to this great literary character. Oscar Wilde would raise a glass to Ms. Szereto for penning such a fine continuation to his classic story.
I had not read Pictures of Dorian Gray, and did not need to in order to read this book. However, I wish I had. I would have loved to get more of a feel for Dorian, and to know how the character differed from book to book. He is dark, hedonistic, and driven toward all that is depraved. Yet he is physical perfection and charismatic.
Szereto is a truly talented writer. She gave the reader the feel of a classically written novel but with no censorship. She takes you on a journey to such depth you aren’t sure you will return. The reader is with Dorian through every act as though they are a voyeur standing in his space, and at times it is quite disturbing. Szereto is also giving the reader a path into Dorian’s thoughts; the way his mind works is absolutely chilling! As I reached the end of the book I was so engrossed, and when the last page was read I literally gasped! Another feature of the book that I enjoyed was the note from the author. It was fascinating to learn her inspiration for taking this story on.
Szereto presents the reader with a piece of dark erotica with an undertone of the paranormal. This clearly isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you aren’t afraid to spend a little time in the shadows give this one a try.
**Reviewed by Teresa D. for ThatsErotica.com**