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Sex and Death in the American Novel

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4.09  ·  Rating details ·  43 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Vivianna Post is the family anomaly. Daughter of a Pulitzer Prize winner and an academic, she has never quite fit her parents’ expectations as a free-spirited erotica writer.

When Vivianna encounters the award-winning author Jasper Caldwell at a nightclub, all she wants is to blame him for blowing off her brother at a writers’ conference the year before and poss
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Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 17th 2012 by Booktrope Editions
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Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  43 ratings  ·  19 reviews


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Sarah
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Vaginal Fantasy Bookclub
Recommended to Sarah by: Katie F
Shelves: romance
This book has erotica, romance (yes, the two are different), realistic portrayals of the human experience, and is beautifully written to boot! It's a wonderful read that had me hooked in the first paragraph. The characters are believable, witty, flawed, and dynamic. I loved reading from Vivianna's perspective, and her friends and family were incredibly interesting and believable characters as well. Not only did Sarah Martinez deal with grief, love, happiness, guilt, and a whole heap of other hum ...more
Jack Remick
Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Triadic Universal and the Fundamental Theorem of Fiction in Sex and Death in the American Novel.
© 2012 By Jack Remick
In the contemporary literary culture of IMs, instant reviews, and Amazon.com, reviews have become little more than popularity contests. A hundred friends retell the story in a post and the writer reads the retelling of the story she already knows so well and is satisfied.
But a review is more than retelling the story.
In this culture of instant everythin
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Anne Conley
Mar 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I give five star ratings to book that have shaped my life in some way, so I haven't given many to books that I've read lately. Sex and Death in America, however has changed the way I look at romance novels in general, and my own writing specifically. I loved it.

Written from the POV of Vivi, a young woman struggling with the oppressive ghost of her father, falls in love with one of his biggest fans. Ironically, her late brother is her boyfriend's biggest fan. Jasper (boyfriend) is a l
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Christyc
Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is so much more than I anticipated. Sexy, yes. Amazingly, complicatedly (in a good way) sexy. Somehow it is realism and fantasy both and in the right proportions.

But it's not just sex. Martinez's philosophy is that sex is a part of life, so how can you write about life while not acknowledging sex.

And speaking of philosophy, there are a number of conversations about the questions of life. Like the one about representations of beauty on television. I really enjoyed these. It truly felt
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Isla McKetta
Sep 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
A delightfully unabashed novel that spans literature, love, and eroticism. Anyone who reads Fifty Shades of Grey and finds it misogynistic might enjoy the sex positive attitude in Sex and Death in the American Novel instead. Check out my blog for insight on what this book says about commitment to art and the beauty of becoming a whole, fulfilled person.
Pavarti Tyler
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and no promise of a positive review was made.

Review: Sex and Death in the American Novel is sexy, smart, heartbreaking, romantic, transgressive and deeply deeply intimate. It also wasn’t the book I was expecting to read. Rarely does the first person narrative come this close to the introspective exploration of quality memoirs, but this one does. I found myself
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Ryan Ananat
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sex and Death in the American Novel. How could someone who has a Ph.D. in American Studies not love a book whose title cheekily hearkens back to one of the books that founded my interdiscipline? Unlike Leslie Fiedler’s volume, Martinez’s is a novel. Or, I should say. A meta-novel. For, it as much a study of contemporary American literature as Love and Death in the American Novel was of American literature from the colonial period to the 1950s. It’s a smart and entertaining novel (a pair of adjec ...more
Nikki Rehman
Oct 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Not exactly your typical “bodice-ripper.”

Let me first say that I tend to be rather conservative, and don’t usually read books that fall under the “erotica” genre. That said, a couple of my favorite novels include some very well-written intimate scenes, so when I heard this book described as “literary erotica” and a “thinking woman’s erotica,” I decided to give it a try.

I don’t really know what “literary erotica” means. I tried looking it up on Bing, and closed the window
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Nikki McCormack
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Sex and Death in the American Novel by Sarah Martinez isn’t my typical fare. I’m a fantasy and science fiction geek. Reading something in literary erotica was a bit of a dive off the deep end for me. I truly expected not to like it and I was very pleasantly proven wrong.

The protagonist in the novel, Vivianna, is a woman who, on the outside, seems to know who she is. She’s an erotic fiction author. Her relationship with her mother and brother are convoluted, tense, loving, and relatively t
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Loretta Matson
Sep 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
I am the graphic designer for the first edition of this novel. I read an early draft and the final text.

Sex and Death appeals on many levels: escapist, sexy entertainment; gossipy brain candy; a dramatic story about the children of high-achieving parents; an expansive discussion of sexual identity; a pretty damned interesting reading list. In western society we have lots of labels for the way people identify. What if you could cut it even finer? What if your particular thoughts, feel
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Stevie McCoy
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
In one sentence I would describe this story as: A new age romance delved in layers of self discovery, intellectual discussions, and the continual influences a loved one can make on life, even after death.

The novel starts off with the line, "Call me Vivianna." In the first page you discover the protag is a strong female writer and you get to read her creating what she writes best, gay erotica, until her thoughts are interrupted by the disapproving voice of her mother. The main charact
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Katie
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edited
Vivianna Post is the family anomaly. Daughter of a Pulitzer Prize winner and an academic, she has never quite fit her parents’ expectations as a free-spirited erotica writer. When Vivianna encounters the award-winning author Jasper Caldwell at a nightclub, all she wants is to blame him for blowing off her brother at a writers’ conference the year before and possibly causing his suicide. But as the night—and then the weeks—wear on, Vivianna finds herself drawn to Jasper in ways she cannot underst ...more
Everett Maroon
Jan 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
First up, I'm not typically an erotica reader. I mean, erotica is great and pushes boundaries in ways many other genres don't. Erotica has a place in literature, even if some would disdain its inclusion. In Sex and Death in the American Novel, Sarah Martinez pushes those prohibitions and presumptions in the themes of authorship, criticism, and regret, picking apart a family with literary aspirations. Certainly there is sex, but it is less straight-up titillation a la "Fifty Shades of" and more a ...more
Arleen Williams
Nov 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
In "The Triadic Universal and the Fundamental Theorem of Fiction in Sex and Death in the American Novel" Jack Remick writes "The Mother... still exists in the restricted and constipated world of 'niceness'. Nice people don’t talk about sex; they don’t want to read about sex; they don’t want to use the words of sex that come from our long and complex literary past."

Like Vivianna's mother in Sex and Death in the American Novel, I am also from that constipated world of niceness. Still, I admire Sa
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Priscilla Long
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sex, in Sex and Death in the American Novel by Sarah Martinez, is a long, slow, highly spiced meal, a dance, a quest, a search for a lost father in the shape of the lover, a trespass of conventional boundaries, a seeking after freedom and after art. This spectacular first novel is about grief and longing and literature. It's also a page-turner. I fell in love with Vivi, dancer and writer, and with both her lovers. In the end this is a deeply romantic love story about writing and dancing and lovi ...more
Carolyn
Mar 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
A great read. Martinez challenges the reader on several different planes. Sex and how fantasy, gender, and one's own preconceptions can inhibit or enlighten are explored in a multitude of fascinating ways. Where does erotica fit in the modern American novel? Her characters are real, even when they are fantastical. How does one resolve a familial conflict? Sibling rivalry, the grief after suicide, and its resolution. Martinez has written with courage, total mastery of her plot, and has gone where ...more
Linda Banana
Dec 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really wanted to love it - the title alone makes it worth reading. It never really grabbed me, though. For one thing, there were a lot of grammar and punctuation mistakes. Sorry, but I'm a real stickler. It was good to read something intelligent and I enjoyed the references to literary erotica. I found the sex scenes involving the main protagonist quite cold, though, in how they were described. Better than a 3 but not quite a 4: my finger slipped.
Ann
Nov 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved the book. Parts of it keep coming back to me from time to time. Ifeel as if I have touched or was touched by something special by reading this book. I won't say anything more as I don't want to inadvertently give something away, just this, read it!
Harmony
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love a good book that makes you question yourself and helps you reflect on yourself. That's what this book did for me. Plus you add well written sex scenes and it's pretty much of bonus.
Alex
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Sep 17, 2012
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David Guy
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Roy Huff
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Karen
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Vaginal Fantasy B...: Non-Fantasy book recommendation 1 47 Dec 17, 2012 06:55PM  
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Literary Heroes: Junot Diaz, Marco Vassi, Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, Anne Rice, Richard Russo and Clive Barker

Current author favorites include: Henry Miller, Sandra Cisneros, Robert Boswell, Vladimir Nabokov, Meg Wolitzer and David Guy

THE PAST

Born in the South, and raised on both coasts, Sarah Martinez has seen and done a lot. Some might say too much, but wh
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