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3.36  ·  Rating details ·  111 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Crafted around twenty-six extraordinary erotic encounters, this highly charged work is a powerful meditation on the pursuit of pleasure. In each chapter, titled after a letter of the alphabet, an anonymous narrator details his experiences, travelling to cruising grounds and sex clubs, exploring the boundaries of sex, desire, pleasure, and the body, while reflecting on the ...more
Paperback, 122 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Myriad Editions
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Average rating 3.36  · 
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 ·  111 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Emmanuelle Maupassant
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Emmanuelle by: Terrance Aldon Shaw

Kemp's series of 26 bittersweet vignettes are perfect slices of agony and ecstasy, 'visions of excess' burning brightly beyond the civility of language and manners, taking us on a journey of transcendence, of sexual gratification and drug-induced otherness.

Explicit and, often, disturbing, his scenes lead us into dark places in search of meaning, exploring our isolation and our need for connection, our yearning for intense physical experience and our desire for oblivion. Kemp celebrates the raw,
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, gay
Clever, rather poetic vignettes that i found very thought-provoking. Some hilarious, some somber. A quick read that leads to long thoughts.

Terrance Shaw
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The twenty-six very-short stories in this debut solo collection of m/m erotica are ostensibly arranged, as the title suggests, like a child’s alphabet, but with decidedly mature literary ambitions, and an undeniably grownup sexual sensibility. The language is beyond impressive, though author Jonathan Kemp consciously expends a great deal of it to lament the very inadequacies of language, the impotence of mere words confronting the sublime nexus of thought and sensation, as in this passage from ‘ ...more
Ryno Posthumus
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
An astounding piece of work! A new and refreshing look at the language of sex and lust between men. "These sounds you give to articulate your pleasure are far removed from the discreet insistencies of language."
Bastian Greshake Tzovaras
Aug 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
To be honest, I just picked this one up in my last trip to Gay's The Word because I found the cover so intriguing. So I had no idea of what to expect. Turns out it's pretty poetic and awesome m/m erotica!
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Poetry in prose form that extends the language and the alphabet to express something more, like it sets out to do! Sex in all its forms have never been as intensely beautiful as this..
George K. Ilsley
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
A collection of 26 fragments, flash fiction or prose poems, or intellectual wanking a la watered-down Genet (there is an excerpt of Genet quoted in the text). There are 26 segments each labeled alphabetically with a letter of the alphabet. There is no correspondence between the letter and the text, so not sure if the form has a point. Perhaps it is meant to evoke randomness, the same messy randomness that provides today's sex partners.

All in all, this volume can be summed up with this sentence t
Dave Di Vito
Sep 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
Liked the concept and the idea; the vignettes organised alphabetically etc. etc. Sometimes sharp, usually explicit I think it's a pretty bold work, but overall I didn't connect with it anywhere near as much as I did with Kemp's other work.
Ilan Friedland
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Uh... this was Maggie Nelson at her worst. Sex as a transgressive act that opens one up to experience beyond language, etc etc-- this is true and a wonderful thing to explore in literature-- but I think this book takes on some of the worst artistic inclinations of older, sex-oriented gay male communities. Sex is transgressive and interesting but it's also rather numbing in and of itself, and after twenty six vignettes of mindless popper-filled voyages, I was like: yeah, I relate, and so? The bes ...more
colin buist
Nov 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Kemp’s prose is evocative and traces the contours of nameless, impersonal encounters and orgiastic, intimate excess. There are many moments in the novel that are able to be identified with, largely due to the fact that Kemp tries to intellectualize these encounters without pretentiously intellectualizing his writing style. To this point, a lot of the ‘theory’ that comes out of the novel seems recycled of thinkers such as Brian Massumi and Deleuze & Guattari (D&G are cited in the novel itself), a ...more
Brad Cohen
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is what gay male sex erotica should be. Poetic, honest, lacerating, hopeful, devastating and unique.

I love this book. I think the exploration of how language describing our carnal encounters is often inadequate is spot on and beautifully navigated by Jonathan. Vignettes, prose poems, short stories, flash fiction... the stunning thing about these pieces is that I didn't feel like the author or the publisher had tried to crush them into any particular 'form' to be neatly categorised and
Charlie Beaumont
This was an amazing read. Quick, erotic, emotionally intelligent and thought provoking in the manner in which it invites self exploration with respect to identity and needs for intimacy. I believe anyone of any sexuality can become very quickly immersed in this series of vignettes. Very much recommended.
Simon Mac
Apr 08, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It’s trying to poetic but at times, just feels abstract like throwing paint to a wall and hoping that someone finds meaning to it. I don’t understand the use of an alphabet to separate the stories. It doesn’t add any value or meaning. Each story is short and nothing is really gained. One might gain a spurt of excitement with some of the erotica but it ends as soon as it starts.
Kristina Brown
Jun 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbt
A book about language and its inability to convey sensation. The individual scenes are divided into chapters denoted by the letters of the alphabet which have no relevance to the imagery. And that is the point. Moments of pleasure are indescribable to anyone who has not experienced them.
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it
I finished this book in a single sitting. Kemp's elegant, hypnotic prose perfectly conveys the poetry of desire.
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
While very poetic and raw, I had a hard time relating to this book. The concept is really cool; the author goes through the alphabet and tells 26 short stories/encounters all centred around some form of casual sex with vivid descriptions (many cringe worthy). It was a very quick read but not amazing.
Jul 25, 2015 rated it liked it
O Jonathan Kemp ήθελε να γίνει Jean Genet όταν μεγαλώσει. Έν μέρει το κατάφερε.
James Ephraim Stubbs
Apr 24, 2014 rated it did not like it
didn't enjoy this at all thought i was going to be something more
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Dec 20, 2018
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