Acts of Service: "A sex masterpiece" (Guardian)
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Or who thinks he is just so good at reading women that he’s always right, especially in bed, and for the tone of the book and author interviews to have an almost mocking edge where disagreeing or thinking it’s wrong is the entire point?
this is a bisexual book, in subject (fucking and desiring a man and a woman, at the same time, differently) and in its conversations and references. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice.It also demands generosity, and Fishman is clear that what is so sanctifying about Eve’s sex with Nathan is that he has no obligations to her – that she receives pleasure from him as a sheer superfluity, as a gift. Fishman's alluring if punctilious debut poses questions about sex, sexuality, and power via the story of a young woman's exploration of desire. It feels like this is a novel that has something to say about sex and gender and queerness, but I could not tell you what it is.
I was like a spinster full of anxieties and repressions, charged with chaperoning a young girl who could not fathom the injustice of the arrangement. Nathan’s manipulative, self-contained, and he controls every aspect of Olivia’s existence, seemingly happy to dominate the women around him. Still, I think the valuable insight and highlightable moments were few and far between compared to the nonsensical introspective monologues we get from the main character which really just don't feel like anything is being said. I can’t believe this well written story of Acts of Service, by Lillian Fisherman’s is her first novel. This is how Eve meets Olivia, and through Olivia, the charismatic Nathan-and soon the three begin a relationship that disturbs Eve as much as it delights her.
now, i usually really enjoy literary fiction with a primary focus on characters rather than plot, but being inside of eve’s head the whole time was tedious and often very boring. the author is queer, the lived experience of queerness is convincing, and drawing more contrasting material from that well might have steered the course away from that fucking clown show of a denouement, if only because it’d mean there were more things to react to in the world. E come se la vera verità, quella più profonda, fosse raggiungibile esclusivamente attraverso il sesso che rappresenta l’autentica natura di ciascuno.
It’s told through a distant lens that removes the narrator (Eve) and the reader from how trivial and dull her life is. genuinely cannot comprehend how a queer women seems to think women's attraction to other women is somehow less real than men's attraction to women. L’incontro con Nathan sembra sospingerla indietro verso quello che appare come un terreno di normalizzazione, l’eterosessualità. She limits her view of Nathan and Olivia, not asking herself how people like this exist in the real world, that eventually the real world has to come crashing in. Just because women may now be 'free' to choose - it is still very disappointing that by far the most intense scenes have to be with male money and power.Part erotic Bildungsroman, part melancholy comedy of manners, it arrives with quiet confidence and a fully formed bank of ideas about intimacy, sexual ethics and contemporary mores that Fishman could go on exploring for years to come. I personally feel magnetized to masculine-presenting men with an uncanny emotional attunement, or to feminine-presenting women with an uncanny ferocity of intellect and will.