Books Lunch Date: Playing
posted by April 3 at 14:06 PMon
(A few times a week, I take a new book with me to lunch and give it a half an hour or so to grab my attention. Lunch Date is my judgment on that speed-dating experience.)
Who’s your date today? Playing, by Melanie Abrams
Where’d you go? The Aloha Kitchen
What’d you eat? Sweet & Spicy Seasoned Deep Fried Chicken ($7.99)
How was the food? Well, it’s funny. I wandered into the Aloha Kitchen hoping for Hawaiian food, but it seems to be strictly Korean. There’s lots of Kimchi and barbecue stuff. But I was the only one in the restaurant and I’d been greeted, so I decided to stay because I was raised Catholic and I feel extreme guilt for things that are not my fault. So I just ordered the most basic kind of Chinese-style food I could, expecting a bowl of candied chicken parts. Instead, I got a plate of seven miniature chicken legs, coated in a crunchy fried shell and covered with a spicy, sweet, and sour sauce. It was good, if really messy—eat a gooey, coated chicken leg with your fingers and see what happens to you—meal. I’d eat there again, if I was in the mood for Korean food.
What does your date say about itself? Playing is an erotic paperback original novel about a nanny who steals her employer’s date and then enters into a S&M relationship with him. The man is an Indian who happens to have leather cuffs all over his house. The back cover informs us that the author, Ms. Abrams, is married to the genius novelist Vikram Chandra.
Is there a representative quote? “Yoon laga thha jaise gungunaata ek abshaar dekha thha.” His fingers massaged down her spine, each verebra vibrating under his touch, and he pushed gently at the small of her back.
“What does it mean?” she asked.
“Once I saw you through a downpour”—he paused—“And it was as if I had seen a humming waterfall.”
Will you two end up in bed together? Yes, but I think I’m going to regret it in the morning. I always read books about S&M relationships—I’m fascinated by the S&M thing, in part because it seems so ridiculous to me, and I really want to read about what the thinking behind it is—and I always walk away unsatisfied. It’s not working for me as an erotic novel, but it is, at least, working to make the main character, Josie, three dimensional as a young novice entering a world that her older lover knows almost too well. It’s not as trashy as, say, a Harlequin romance, but it’s pretty goddamned trashy. But trashy, in this case, is pretty fun.