Fun, Perceptive, Insightful, Juicy, Artistic: A Great Read
This book was one of the best reads of the year for me, perhaps the best. Why I really liked this book? Well, it's just a great read. Once I started, I became involved in the story and it was hard to put it down. It's one of those books for which one needs a weekend free of other commitments.
It's a page turner, and day after day, one wants to find our what happens to the characters in the group, one wants to know how they evolve from their experiences, how this retreat at the swingers' paradise they are in is going to impact their awareness, their self-knowledge, their relatedness, their choices, and their existence. And one wants to know that while one is also intrigued by the rather graphic, fun, realistic, and juicy descriptions of their amorous and erotically expressive activities, descriptions that are a pleasure to read in themselves because they are perceptive, insightful and artistic.
This combination of a narrative that intertwines the stories of multiple characters and their evolving relationships as partners in open marriages who practice swinging with descriptions of the multiple ways in which this swinging unfolds is really what makes this novel very valuable and unique. Yes, because it succeeds in integrating two genres that belong together like twins separated at birth, namely the novel and erotic literature. There is no reason to think that people's sexual life is segregated from their amorous and social life. They are one thing. Yet, from most novels one reads it would seem that the divorce of erotic and social elements is complete.
Cooper Beckett has the courage to weave a narrative that integrates these significant aspects of human existence in such a way that helps people appreciate the personal growth and evolution that comes with the practice of swinging. This alone is really a great accomplishment. The story is organized around the events at a one-week couples retreat for middle-class American swingers. Every day is different. And surprises are well contextualized in the wider setting of the Mexican location for the retreat, with attention to the reverberations of this somewhat exotic setting on the behavior of the protagonist group, and to the cross cultural aspects this location implies.
The drama unfolds as at least one significant character is off stage, with her perspective a bit out of view, yet as the narrative comes to a conclusion, we see that the story repeats itself to become more inclusive. The perspective the book offers on swingers culture in the US is quite inclusive, with an appreciation for diverse participants, including male-female couples of various ethnic and racial groups, one female-female couple, and one male-female-male triad.
This gesture toward an open-ended practice of swinging is quite significant and it reflects the inclusiveness that Cooper Beckett brings to this sexually alternative culture as a writer, host, organizer, and leader.
As a reader widely trained in literature, I also enjoyed the references to known literary authors and books that Beckett gently embeds in his narrative. They situate the narrative in the context of the well-respected and unabridged literary traditions where the story belongs.
Interested in Approaching The Swingularity: Tales of Swinging & Polyamory in Paradise (Books of The Swingularity Book 2)?