Monthly Archives: August 2011

The Sexes Review

The Sexes Review

The Sexes is a small collection of Dorothy Parker’s short stories about relationships, and is published as part of Penguin’s mini modern classics series.

The first story, the Sexes, is a masterclass in dialogue: taught, lucid, and oozing with an admixture of cultural, emotional and interpersonal tension. As a singular comment on the complex narrative that exists between the sexes, it is an aggressive shot across the bow against those that seek to deny the differences between the genders.

The Lovely Leave offers a fly-on-the-wall perspective of the intricacies that lie behind the facade of a loving relationship. An education for those yet to experience loving relationships, and a mirror for everyone else, it’s a pristine example of how to clothe reality in fiction.

Like all collections, not all stories are crafted equally, and the Little Hours is the runt of the litter, a meandering story with little purpose other than to showcase a litany of quotations and the sharp poise of Parker’s prose.

The final two stories, Glory in the Daytime and Lolita, bring the book to an ordered conclusion. Glory in the Daytime is a sharp vignette contrasting the human costs of fame against the droll existence of normalcy, and Lolita is a strange but elegant story of the smallness of attitude fostered by small town life.

The Sexes is an perfectly tempered collection of short stories that not only underlines the genius of Dorothy Parker, but also serves as a intricate lesson about the complexities of human emotion and sexual politics. And apart from being a taut read, it serves as a gentle reminder that–for those willing to look–the richness of life is there to marvel at just beyond the graceful vision of our eyes.

Reading Undressed

Reading Undressed

As a lover of beauty, books, and nudity, the concept of Naked Girls Reading is an alluring one: beautiful girls read a thematic mixture of prose and poetry to an audience, while seated naked on a small stage.

So on 5th July 2011 I attended the Naked Goddesses Reading event for an evening of mythical reading at the Paradise by way of Kensal Green, London. The three goddesses–Sophia St. Villier, Glory Pearl and Lily Miss-Chevious–were, quite naturally, radiant, which coupled with their impeccable reading, demure posture and piquant reading list made for an evening that was in equal parts contemporary as it was classical.

From the traditional gravitas of Homer, through to the popular stories of Thomas Bullfinch and the contemporary words of Margret Atwood’s The Penelopiad, the evening was lightened with poetry from The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy, and acted as a temperate and enjoyable dance through the realms of mythology.

While nude reading is unlikely to remain anything but a niche interest, it is, above all, an excellent opportunity to listen to quality public reading. Although the combination of nudity and reading might appear tawdry to some, it is perhaps reminiscent of the nudity of the ancient Greek Olympics, showing that nudity has a long tradition of being the ideal way of performing in front of audiences.