Mabeuse gives his readers a rare and precious gift: an engraved invitation into the mind and soul of a dominant man languishing in his world of restraint. In A Good Student, he enthralls the reader by creating complex, entirely human characters and then permitting us to eavesdrop on their private hopes, fears, doubts and desires. No, not eavesdrop; that implies an uninvited observer. Listening to Peter Klein’s nuanced performance, I felt like a priest summoned to the confessional of Mabeuse’s darkest imagination. I felt my heart leap into my throat each time the Professor felt an impulse to take just a little bit more from Emma and then dared to push her just a little bit farther.
Mabeuse certainly pushed me over the edge, and the fall was glorious. He’s quite cunning in his use of fluid rhythms and elegant diction, lulling me with the beauty of his writing, only to cause my breathing to hitch with the stark, graphic language men and women employ at their most primal moments. Be warned: Mabeuse surreptitiously inserts a mainline into his readers instincts, only to inject his literary stimulants straight into that most powerful erotic organ: the mind.
Unlike other authors who seek to affect their readers while leaving themselves impenetrable, Mabeuse opens a two-way door to erotic struggle and surrender. Having obtained consent, he takes over the reader’s imagination and remains in control through the entire book. But he also humbly shares his secrets with us, entrusting his vulnerabilities to our care: “I wanted her to know who I was inside. I wrote porn and I pretended to look down on it. But when I wrote, I poured my heart and soul into the page, and I knew it showed.” It certainly does, Professor Mabeuse. It certainly does.
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