“Those who are faithful know only the pleasures of love; it is the faithless who know love’s tragedies.”
— Lord Henry Wotton
It didn’t take long for me to get swept up by The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray: with its period language and lustful, erotic scenarios, I found myself wanting to read the original tale: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. While Mitzi Szereto uses a lot of colorful language to paint the pictures of Dorian’s experiences, none of it feels too flowery, but rather it gives the story the feel of a literary fictional book with a fantastical character who knows no bounds to his pleasure-seeking. Indeed, at one point he even sought the absence of sexual pleasure: “Instead he fought the urge for fleshly sensation until he believed he would go mad, finding a perverse enjoyment in self-deprivation that added to his repertoire of sensations.” I really appreciated this specific form of excess, for the intentional breaks from sexuality can be quite therapeutic and refreshing–and normal–for people to seek out at various times, for various reasons, in their lives.
I loved how Szereto wrote about the sex Dorian has. The acts are laid out specific enough, but there is just enough room for the reader’s imagination to kick in and fill the gaps. While reading this book I found myself eagerly reading more and more, like a total glutton for lust, reading far more in one sitting than I had intended. It was almost as if I was the Dorian-esque reader, always craving more.
Here is an excerpt that displays Szereto’s wonderful talent for words along with Dorian’s obsession with pleasure and, in fact, himself:
Seeing how he truly looked sent a breath of madness whispering into his ear, encouraging him to take his erection into his hand, caressing himself before the painting’s leering blood-filled eyes until his fluids joined those that leeched from the canvas in clots of dripping gore. It was as if Dorian wished to mock the hideous image with the display of his beautifully formed manhood and the pleasure he derived from it as he gazed upon the ugliness before him.
Needless to say, Dorian’s passions are most certainly “wilde” and I enjoyed the naughty feel each new adventure had as I read. I think the feeling of reading something that seems so utterly dirty can be a guilty pleasure in its own right. Szereto depicts the passions as sinful indulgences extremely well–and I encourage you to check this book out! Thank you Cleis Press for providing me with a copy of this book, in exchange for my honest review. xoxo
Mitzi’s book, The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray is the imaginative sequel to Wilde’s classic. This is the book that Wilde wishes he could have written a century ago–complete with the explicit, naughty details. I’m sure he would be grinning from ear to ear as he read this creative new book, inspired by his own imagination.
Mitzi Szereto is an author and editor of non-fiction, multi-genre fiction, and erotic fiction anthologies. Her books include: Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts, In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales, The New Black Lace Book of Women’s Sexual Fantasies and Wicked: Sexy Tales of Legendary Lovers.