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Speaking of Lust: Stories of Forbidden Desire (Seven Deadly Sins) [Hardcover]

Lawrence Block

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Cumberland House Publishing,US (1 Jan 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581821530
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581821536
  • Product Dimensions: 2.9 x 15.9 x 23.1 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,269,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


This first volume in the Seven Deadly Sins Series, Speaking of Lust is a collection of outstanding short stories on that exceedingly deadly sin we call lust. In addition to being the title of this anthology, "Speaking of Lust" is also the title of Lawrence Block's original novella that leads off this unique collection. "I had as much fun writing 'Speaking of Lust' as I've had with anything in years," Block writes in the introduction, "and if you enjoy it half as much as I did you'll be happy indeed. As I already know you'll be happy with all the other stories in the book."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sin is in. 5 Jan 2002
By Matthew Weaver - Published on
Now here's some reading material to get really excited about.
Lawrence Block, best known for his mystery series, especially the ones revolving around private investigator Matthew Scudder and thief Bernie Rhodenbarr, also is the editor of the June 2001 compilation of short stories entitled "Speaking of Lust."
What really makes you stand at attention is the fact that "Lust" is the first in a series of short story collections that focuses on the seven deadly sins - greed, sloth, pride, envy, wrath and gluttony are the others, for those who skipped "Seven."
Do you realize what this means? At some point, there's going to be a collection of short stories devoted to fat people! And another about those lazy bones that simply refuse to get out of bed. Sigh ... at last, my kind of people get their time in the spotlight.
Seriously, I don't know why this type of thing hasn't been done before. Kudos go to Block and whomever is helping him in this infinitely clever maneuver for making lust, everyone's favorite deadly sin, the focus of the first book, which is smart for two reasons. One, because everyone likes lust, it'll be sure to grab the most readers. And now they've got their work cut out for them in finding clever stories that will give the other six the same kind of attention.
If "Lust" is any indication, we're in for a treat when the presumably-titled "Speaking of Gluttony" and "Speaking of Wrath" come out. It offers a fabulous array of stories that range from delightfully sinful to shockingly sexy.
Among the best offerings:
* James W. Hall's "Crack," about a man who discovers a crack in the wall that peeks into the neighbor's bathroom and allows him to spy on their 15-year-old daughter.
* "Ro Erg," by Robert Weinberg, about a man who uses a credit card error to create a whole new persona for himself.
*Ed Gorman's "The End of It All," in which a once hideous monstrosity gets made over into the handsomest man on earth, and prepares to seduce his high school crush ... and her daughter ...
* "The Girls in Villa Costas," by Simon Brett, about a machinating womanizer who finds himself torn between a beautiful woman and her less-attractive-but-stands-to-inherit-the-family-fortune sister.
Aside from introducing and editing the book, Block also writes the title novella. It is here that another reading delight emerges, and in his introduction Block promises that subsequent tales using the same characters will follow in the future books.
Most likely using Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales" as a model (Did anyone else enjoy reading this classic in high school? After all, those stories about white whales, scarlet letters and tales about two cities, this classic had farting and people having sex in orange trees! Finally, some decent reading material!), Block's story is really just several people - a priest, a policeman, a doctor, a soldier and an old guy - sitting around playing cards and talking about the ways lust has affected their occupations and lives. Lively discussion and debates ensue.
It's an ingenious way to go about telling the story, and the stories within the story will have the reading audience on the edge of their seats (pay close attention to the priest's tale).
Best of all, the stories are relatively short, so even if there comes the rare offering that doesn't quite tickle your funnybone, you can skip it guilt free and go on to the next treasure.
Reading about sin probably wasn't meant to be this much fun. But, oh, how sweet it is.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 18 short stories 26 Sep 2001
By real man - Published on
This book has 18 short stories dealing with theme about lust. It is first book of seven that will deal with the seven deadly sins. There are several well known writers who has written a story for this collection, (Joan Hess, Clive Barker, Joyce Carol Oates). Most of the stories have rather predictable ending, but they are enjoyable stories. My top three stories in this book are the Lawrence Block's story(Speaking Of Lust), Clive Barker's story (The Age of Desire), and Robert Weinberg's story (Ro Erg). If you like any of these writers you want to check this book out.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lust Leads to Dark Undertow. 28 Jan 2005
By Bohdan Kot - Published on
"Lust is desire raised to a level that prompts unacceptable behavior" is a worthy aphorism to encapsulate the contents of "Speaking of Lust: Stories of Forbidden Desire." This is the first volume in the seven deadly sins series and is a compilation of 17 short stories and Lawrence Block's novella (also named "Speaking of Lust"), the capstone of the collection. The editor Block chose to explore the darker side of humanity, the mortal sin of lust, by handpicking short stories that generally lean towards the macabre with dashes of sex. The skillful writing leads the reader without effort to a world full of double agents and desire perverted. Clive Barker, Paul Bishop, and Ed Gorman, to name a few, are the writers that reward with numerous delicious twists and surprises.

In the first short story, "Crack," by James Hall, a voyeur's obsession over a teenage girl possesses him to a frightful conclusion. The unnamed Fulbright fellow confesses, "In most matters I considered myself a scrupulously moral man. I had always been one who could be trusted with other people's money or their most damning secrets. But like so many of my fellow Puritans I long ago had discovered that when it came to certain libidinous temptations I was all too easily swept off my safe moorings into the raging currents of erotic gluttony." "Crack" is a thorough psychological study of how an innocent beginning becomes pathological.

The characters throughout all of the pieces find themselves powerless to fight a desire that has progressed to a full-blown demon. "Speaking of Lust" is a testament to the power of persistent malcontent thoughts. Evil thoughts eventually have no joy staying inside the ravaged mind and long to be transformed into "unacceptable behavior" for release. The collection examines beautifully how sin does not happen out of the blue. The writers brilliantly illustrate that many bad decisions were made before the ultimate transgressions of murder, suicide, incest, and rape occurred. A showcase of lust gone awry, its inevitable tragic conclusions will leave you fulfilled: or perhaps wanting more.

Bohdan Kot
5.0 out of 5 stars It's like potato chips, you can't stop at one! 8 Sep 2012
By Mary B - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a great anthology of sexual mayhem! Since we are covering the deadly sin of lust there are no rewards to be had for the sinners! Mr. Block 's novella does not disappoint, he is such a great author, but you will find many of his ilk in this group of stories.
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