December 17th, 2007


new[ish] project; Kozak, PASSION

I've decided I need to read some of the new novel-length erotica that's out, so I've begun acquiring some. (Recommendations welcome!) My comments may be aimed more at craft issues that I'd like to remember for myself than a regular review.

First up was P.F. Kozak, Passion. It's a contemporary, set in England, and on the slim side (especially in comparison with the 100K words that seem to be the other half of the trade erotica market). The main character, named Passion and called Pash, is shy but wants a lover. She has fantasies about a forceful highwayman of perhaps the 18th century, which has her decide she wants to learn to ride horses. A friend of hers has a boyfriend who owns a stable. She goes there, and Ivan, a gorgeous friend of the boyfriend (Ivan is also a poetry professor, on leave for the summer), becomes her riding teacher. There is instant attraction on both sides.

I didn't finish the book, so I can't comment in detail, but at the beginning I wasn't seeing much tie between the highwaymen fantasies and the real man, whether in the form of tension or similarity. This might have happened later in the book.

It's first person, which I like, but in this case the first person is Passion, then Ivan, and back and forth. The voices are sufficiently different--Ivan uses more slang than Passion, for one thing--but this is what eventually had me put the book down: the alternating scenes were often the same scene, done twice, with only the pov change and slight differences in dialogue. To me, this made the story's progress unbearably slow. For some, this will be a feature rather than a bug. For me, I felt as if the available story had been stretched to fit a set length. The characters didn't have enough problems for me to perservere and see how they solved them.

So from this book I have learned I prefer to have more emotional conflict in my erotica, and I prefer it to be upfront.