This is a lengthy collection of gay erotica -the author calls it porn, bless him for his honesty- written by a gay man for gay men.
The quality of writing is quite high and I am not only referring to the happy lack of grammar mistakes. This man is literate and is not afraid to show it. It might surprise others (not me) but this does not get in the way of dirty fun: sex is steamy all the same and for me, a lover of well written sentences, even more so because of the lustre of the words used.
I could not award such quality with less than five stars, it would have been profoundly unjust, and yet I have some reservations that need to find their place in my review to warn other readers.
It is not only that most of Mr Wolf's characters are fortish or at any rate past their prime. It is rather a general sense of sadness for lives not exactly ill spent but a little wasted, lives full of compromise. The imaginative sex is always tainted by harsh reality.
I think the aim was that of portraying real-size characters with whom the reader could identify: let us be honest about it, I doubt many gorgeous looking studs in their prime would spend much time, these days, reading porn instead of pursuing it in real life. I imagine most of the readers to be either quite young, shy men or middle aged to seniors.
Actually I could relate very well (the middle age, the beerbelly, damn) but these short stories struck chords a little too close to home for comfort. I could not feel the joyous abandonment I always look for in my escape readings and especially in porn.
The sense of unease coalesce into two outright horror stories that are sexy but also quite desperate and bleak and into a very nasty BDSM one.
As if realising he might have gone too far Mr Wolf officially closes his collection with two heartwarming tales where harshness recedes to the background and a glimpse of romance is perceivable but -final twist- the very last, the bonus one, is again a little sad.
I loved Man Machine and Vanilla Latte, of course, the two "romantic" ones.
Body Language is also quite poignant (unfortunately all that smoking was a bit of a turn off for me, I hate cigarettes).
My personal favourite is probably The Night Porter, even if it was possibly the saddest one for me. The very subdued tones of a clandestine affair that could turn into a blooming romance if the two men had the courage to face hypocrisy and make sacrifices (especially the older, married one, of course) were somehow more heartwrenching than an outright drama.
Read Mr Wolf's effort, but do not expect a "light" read.