Awake by Varian Krylov in the Four Seasons:Fall 2009 anthology, ed. Selena Kitt
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Review by Willsin Rowe
With a style that ricochets effortlessly between clipped chunks of prose and fluid imagery, Ms Krylov has created a tightly-crafted work of dark erotica which, admittedly, won’t appeal to all readers. If you’re a fan of romance, even erotic romance, you may need to skim whole sections, perhaps the entire piece. On the other hand, if you’re a fan of writing that’s tight and hot, that gives its characters scope to be what they are, whatever they are, then you’ll enjoy it.
The story opens with our heroine in a state of confusion, yet secure in her sense of her own power. Very quickly the situation cascades, alternating sharply between her terse introspection and the sensual delight she unwillingly creates in the shadowy male. This man’s physical presence is only ever sketched by the narrator’s intensely limited view, her focus continually shifting as she becomes more aware of her situation.
His physicality and the danger it represents is implied beautifully, and his attitude is at times almost parental. He wields such unquestionable power within the confines of the situation, yet he speaks to our heroine lovingly and reasonably, as if he’s lightly scolding a naughty child.
The final section, taken on its own, is a slick revelation of character. When filtered through all the preceding events, however, it grows in strength and could make the reader pause in thought.
Just what tales do we all tell ourselves so that we can live with our actions?