Kink: Stories by R.O. Kwon & Garth Greenwell
Erotica can get a bad, 'Fifty Shades of Grey' rep, but Kink showcases the beauty of libidinous words in a brilliant anthology of short fiction
The crack of a crop against soft skin in a dark dungeon, or the aggressive hate-fuck between lesbian and male friend, or the rough sex to mask the mental pain of an unspooling relationship, or the sharp snap of scissor play. You can take your pick from the riches splayed across the pages of Kink. The anthology of short fiction edited by R.O. Kwon and Garth Greenwell breathes in BDSM, kink, desire and sex, and exhales delicate paragraphs and breathtaking prose from renowned writers like Roxane Gay, Callum Angus and Kim Fu.
What Kink does, almost imperceptibly, is cover all the bases of sexuality. There’s love vs hate, pain vs pleasure, despair vs hope, and cautious contentment. Zeyn Joukhadar tracks a peeping Tom’s eye as it follows the only trans couple in a neighbourhood of cis white people. Larissa Pham exposes the heartache of being vulnerable in 'the wrong way'. Brandon Taylor traces the cracks in a threesome when one of them accidentally falls in love.
Erotica can get a bad, 50 Shades of Grey rep, sullied by Trumpfic and men writing women as breasts with a voice. Kink proves there’s beauty in libidinous words, that there’s more to the genre than porn without plot, and that for every shade of kink there’s an underbelly of light and darkness. Kwon and Greenwell have created a masterpiece of conscientious, compassionate writing that should be treasured.
Simon & Schuster, out now, £12.99