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Crafted around twenty-six extraordinary erotic encounters, this highly charged work is a powerful meditation on the pursuit of pleasure.
In each chapter, titled after a letter of the alphabet, an anonymous narrator details his experiences, travelling to cruising grounds and sex clubs, exploring the boundaries of sex, desire, pleasure, and the body, while reflecting on the limits of language and the act of writing.
In the tradition of Georges Bataille, Kathy Acker and Jean Genet, these pieces take us to places language doesn’t often go. Kemp powerfully stages a series of anonymous encounters, describing the relentless pursuit of sexual pleasure with luminous intensity, while at the same time facing the impossibility of capturing the moments he describes.
This is a bold and challenging work, unashamedly sensual and searching. Kemp beautifully counterpoises explicit description with a searing interrogation of the extreme measures taken in the quest for sexual fulfillment.
It adeptly explores the dizzying heights and dark depths of sexuality. Kemp takes no prisoners as he consistently delivers stunning imagery which assaults the senses with a sometimes brutal take on the reality of sex and its effects on the mind and, potentially, the soul...As it edges towards its own shivering climax, this collection of short stories will leave you hot under the collar and always wishing for more.
Twentysix is a glorification of the profane in the tradition of such luminaries Jean Genet and Allen Ginsberg...These are twenty-six beautiful, intense and extraordinary incantations of desire, twenty-six discourses on intercourse, written in language that is at the same time brutal, tender and transformative; in the act of reading, the reader becomes part of something precious, powerful and profound.
The Eskimos have fifty words for snow, but our vocabulary for describing sexual experiences is peculiarly limited. In this explicit book, twenty-six encounters are chronicled by an anonymous character whose literary frustration often leads to unexpected adjectives and inventive similes...It is a meditation of the problems of recording the abstract in figurative form...Honest and sharply written.
A series of original, highly charged erotic encounters, Jonathan Kemp's collection has a short, carefully crafted tale for every letter of the alphabet. From cruising grounds to sex clubs, Twentysix is set to take the reader on a lyrical journey that explores the pursuit of pleasure. A must-read for all admirers of Kemp's critically acclaimed London Triptych.
A wonderful book...so much more than just erotic stories though. It's a dictionary of sex, an exploration of love between two men, two people, a case study of sexual encounters. It presented so beautifully too, with haunting passages that surpass what we so often assume will come with the term 'erotica'. There's deep meaning to this novel too. Some stories are beautiful, some disgusting, some full of passion, some kinky, and some...well just sexy.
Like Georges Bataille and Jean Genet before him, Kemp’s prose is titillating, dark, and honest to its core.
Although the book’s primary subject is sexuality, it would be wrong to call this a collection of erotic fantasy stories. Twentysix sets itself apart by virtue of its own necessary bleakness. There is no fantasy to Kemp’s masterful prose as he portrays a realistic and sometimes heartbreaking outlook on the search for sexual fulfillment.