Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart

Caitlin R. Kiernan, Author
Caitlín R. Kiernan. Subterranean (www.subterraneanpress.com), $40 (328p) ISBN 978-1-59606-473-7
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This impressive collection of 25 “weird romance” stories (all previously published in Kiernan’s monthly e-zine, Sirenia Digest, between 2007 and 2009) is laden with dark little gems that blur the boundaries between pleasure and pain and between reality and fantasy. “Rappaccini’s Dragon (Murder Ballad No.5)” chronicles an intrepid poisoner who attains ingenious vengeance against a couple who murdered his twin brother after a sexual encounter. “The Peril of Liberated Objects, or The Voyeur’s Seduction” follows a young woman who finds fulfillment in a book of ever-changing nightmarish images. “Derma Sutra (1891)” is an unforgettable steampunk-nuanced alternate history in which a “holy warrior” is captured by one of the monstrosities she hunts and is transformed in a sequence that is simultaneously horrifying and arousing. The stories are intensely and often graphically erotic, and explore transgression, transformation, and transcendence. The seductively dark lyricism and thematic profundity of this collection will appeal to anyone who shares Kiernan’s longing for “desire without boundaries.” Agent: Merrilee Heifetz, Writers House. (Aug.)
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