When approaching audiobooks, you really have to consider two reviews: one for the narrator, and one for the material itself. I'll tackle the second one first.
Violet Blue, in her introduction, warns that the material inside can be quite dark, and I couldn't agree more. Erotica, probably more than any other fiction, is very personal and can be quite divisive, and I have to admit I've never come across an anthology with more highs and lows than this one. Several of the stories I found very intriguing, and a couple downright hot, but at least one story almost made me throw my iPod across the room. I'm all for angry or dangerous sex, but some of the "fantasies" here seemed to me to border on hate and spite, pulled out of the abyss (rather cheaply I beleive) at the last moment with the comforting assurance that all parties were willing. I'm a firm believer in "to each their own", but be warned that there will come across some hash material, some of it quite uncomfortable for most people. Caveat emptor.
Now for the narrator. I"m a great admirer of Rose Caraway, whose enthusiam and obvious delight in narrating erotica, along with the perfect blend of little girl and lustful succubus that is her voice really sells the material, especially when she's voicing the women. She REALLY gets into it, and rest assured you WILL react.
Overall I think this was a worthwhile anthology, but like I said be prepared to the possibility of being turned off as well as on. Perhaps I wouldn't have had as strong a reaction if I had been reading it instead if listening to it, but Rose's passionate reading, really bringing out the rawness of some stories, made some of the scenes too vivid for me, and I suspect some of you as well...so proceed with caution.
I've been a fan of David Whyte for quite a while now, since at least the late '90's when I really began to look at my place in the world and how I belonged (or didn't). A "corporate poet", he uses poetry, both his and others, to show how we should approach life, being bold and vulnerable, willing to fall and get hurt in order to grow.
In THE THREE MARRIAGES, he follows several poets, writers, and historical figures through their lives to show how they tackled life in regards to a work or vocation, relationships with friends and specifically a husband or wife, and the most intimate marriage of all, the one with ourselves. Instead of finding balance between the three, finding an equilibrium that keeps them separate, he suggests that they feed each other, blending to create a full, satisfying life, and that to diminish one for the sake of another actually diminishes both or all three.
I read the hardcover when it first came out, and found it a bit obtuse and hard to fathom. The audio book I found much easier to absorb, a chapter here and there read in Whyte's slight Welsh accent much clearer to understand what he is trying to say. There is very little poetry in this book, but plenty of philosophy and material to contemplate and consider, including more than a little Zen, but no matter your religious tradition this is a great book for trying to come to terms with how full your life can be if you pay attention to all aspects, and keep the conversation between the three marriages flowing and involved.
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