Must-read rating: ♥ ♥ ♥
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Be careful what you wish for
Wow! This book is beyond vintage Roth. Who else would write a story about a man having a fixation for breasts and then turn into one. And if you’ve read any of his other novels like Portnoy’s Complaint, Good-bye Columbus or The Dying Animal, you will appreciate Roth’s loving and candid relationship with human sexuality.
Roth was a writer of all things real in life – sex. romance, fantasy, humor, fate and death – and his more than two dozen books poured out a narrative of love, lust and morality in satirical and realistic stories that will stand the test of time. The Breast is essential Roth.
She is something to look at on the beach, a green-eyed blonde, tall and lean and full-breasted. Even with desire on the wane, I still liked nothing better than to lie in bed and watch her dress in the morning and undress at night. Down in the hollow of the dunes, I unclip the top of her bikini and watch it drop away. “Imagine,” she says, “where they’ll be at fifty, if they droop like this at twenty-five.” “Can’t,” I say, “won’t,” and drawing her to her knees, I lean back on the hot sand, dig down with my heels, shut my eyes, and wait with open lips for her breast to fill my mouth. What a sensation, there with the sea booming below! As though it were the globe itself—suckable soft globe!—and I Poseidon or Zeus! Oh, nothing beats the pleasures of the anthropomorphic god. “Let’s spend all next summer by the ocean,” say I, as people do on the first happy day of vacation. Claire whispers, “First let’s go home and make love.” It’s been some time—she’s right. “Oh, let’s just lie here,” I say—“ Where is that strange thing? Yes, again, again.” “I don’t want to cut off your air. You were turning green.” “With envy,” I say. Yes, I admit openly, that is what I said. And if this were a fairy tale instead of my life, we would have the moral now: “Beware preposterous desires—you may get lucky.” But as this is decidedly not some fairy tale—not to me, dear reader—why should a wish like that have been the one to come true?
This is a story told by David Kepesh, a thirty-eight year old professor whose love of the female breast becomes a wish come true. It is a sensitive and sensuous telling of sexual desires from the perspective of … a female breast. How Roth, a male, through Kepesh, a male, figured to pull this off is puzzling. But he did. Kepesh struggles with his imprisoned dilemma and as a part of female anatomy, he shares the most carnal of feelings with the reader.
I must make clear, before going further, that Claire is no vixen; though throughout our affair she had been wonderfully aroused by ordinary sexual practices, she had no taste, for instance, for intercourse per anum, and was even squeamish about receiving my sperm in her mouth. If she performed fellatio at all, it was only as a brief antecedent to intercourse, and never with the intention of bringing me off. I did not complain bitterly about this, but from time to time, as men who have not yet been turned into breasts are wont to do, I registered my discontent—I was not, you see, getting all I wanted out of life.
This is very much about seeing the subjective desires and fetishes of sex and how we are trapped in our sexuality. It’s Roth at his most visceral, most honest. As he once said, “The fantasy of purity is appalling. It’s insane.” And, reflecting his creator’s philosophy, David Kepesh proclaims, “This is not tragedy any more than it is farce. It is only life, and I am only human.”
This short, comedic novel is a must-read!
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