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Mama Deb
mamadeb
.:::.:....... ..::...:
Mama Deb [userpic]
So, what do you do when it's hot and there's nothing else to do?

Read. At least while there's light, and if there's a flashlight, there's light.

I read two books during the blackout. One was Salt: A World History, which was utterly fascinating. I knew that salt was important, but I didn't think about how important it is - not just for food, but for ordance and revenue and, well, everything.

The other has a similar theme. In fact, it was on my Wishlist, and my husband bought it because he thought it was yet another food book. It isn't. It's As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann. And it's...if it were fanfic, I'd say it was slash. It reads like a slash story, *not* like a lot of the gay fiction I read. The style of writing the sex scenes, the angst and transgressions, the major presence of *lube* (well, goose grease, but it does take place in the 17th Century) - it all reads like slash to me. Does anyone know if she's possibly a slasher?

If she is, I can pretty much say that the characters and plot are original - if they're not, she's done an amazing job of filing off the serial numbers. The other thing is, it's a good use of unreliable narrator. The viewpoint character, Jacob, doesn't seem quite aware of how violent he is, and he finds ways of justifying himself during and after each act. That's right - the relationship(s) in the book are dysfunctional and we are in the odd position of seeing it through the eyes of the abuser. It makes it emotionally difficult to read, but she is a good enough writer that I didn't want to put it down.

And yet, it is also a story of a forbidden (and eventually foolish) love between two men, and there are moments of tenderness and joy in the middle of wars and politics and social movements.

I highly recommend it.

I also recommend Elizabeth Lynn's Dragon's Winter, which is a well-imagined fantasy world with a m/m romance as a part of the plot, but it's not the heart of it. It's more that the villain used it to get what he wanted. There is some lovely hurt/comfort and a couple of sweet het romances as well.

Comments

The Economist magazine LOVED this book when it came out and also put it in their best books of 2001, was it? I don't know if Maria McCann is a slasher, The Economist didn't mention it. They thought the sex scenes were especially good because they were written by a woman. They did mention that she is a school teacher and got up an hour earlier every day to work on the book. Also that her publisher's fact checker only had to correct one minor fact about mail carts or something in the 1700s, she was that thorough. Now, if The Economist review knew that, you'd think s/he'd know if MM was a slasher, hm.

I'd suspect that, even if she were one, she wouldn't advertise that fact, and not to a mainstream publication. Fanfiction all by itself is, at the very least, confusing to people outside media fandom - people are always asking me why I don't just write my own characters so I can sell them, for example. And slash is even more disreputable.

But her sex scenes are very erotic and poetic - except when the plot demands they be otherwise, which is very effective.

I have As Meat Loves Salt, but have yet to begin it; you've convinced me to dig it out and begin on it right away.

Dragon's Winter was really enjoyable. perhaps I should read it again, because I remember liking it a lot.