Think of biting into a ripe juicy strawberry, or the warm and heady scent of date scones the moment you break them open to pour on the honey. Reading one of the three bite-sized erotica-themed stories in Krissy Kneen’s Swallow the Sound is a similar palatable pleasure. Despite the sensual stimulation (goosebumpy skin, watering mouth, wide-drinking eyes) the brain is also massaged by this collection. The characters in the three stories are all slightly faulty, not blessed with the debonair charm of a Mills and Boone heroine, nor powerful like Anais Nin’s Baron. They aren’t quite comfortable or experienced yet in their sexuality. And thus, each story is like the hymen breaking – not a sharp corruptive tear, but a subtle one – the moment when it all becomes a bit cloudy. As each story is a short, sweet gem, it would give far too much away to summarise them for purpose of review. Instead, I will offer small moments of insight from each. Infidelities is not from the perspective of those committing the adultery, but an onlooker, and is the most obvious in the ‘sexual awakening’ vein. I had the pleasure of hearing The Conjoined Twins Wake and Find Sleep Again read aloud by the author at the launch of the book, and her smooth intonations emphasised the literary quality of the story. Through dark and wet imagery, the protagonists comfort each other on a difficult night. One twin is deformed, and complex emotions are explored through her desperate longing to become her sister, to fold inside her. The bottom half of their body is shared: ‘She felt herself slipping across the mess of veins and nerve endings, lost in the shallow gasps of Rachel’s breath. There were no longer any edges to her body. She was Rachel. Beautiful Rachel. She became beautiful in Rachel’ (p. 17).
The most tender story is The Sprung Trap of Her Body, where a male carer, sexually inexperienced, nurses a seriously ill woman. For such a short story, the characters are well drawn and emotive. The story is both provocative and touching. All of the stories have an underlying current of emotion – sadness, hope, tenderness. All provide some strange form of comfort, like consuming hot chocolate on a chilly day. Swallow the Sound is a perfect bedside book and is small enough to carry in your pocket and drink up with your morning tea at work. I was very excited to discover that Krissy intends to follow up Swallow the Sound with a series of bite-size erotica titles, all by new micropublisher Eatbooks.
Purchase Swallow the Sound at the Eatbooks website.
See the review of the 1st Eatbooks Literary Journal.