Lust Paperback – 5 Feb 2001
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Caught in a mid-life crisis, Michael, the slightly weary hero of Geoff Ryman's Lust, finds himself with a somewhat double-edged gift. He can summon anyone he likes--which mostly means mature men--in a convenient disposable copy and make love to them, irrespective of the original's sexuality. None of this does anything for his concentration on a research experiment, his chronic impotence or the collapse of his relationship with his long-term boyfriend, but he does get to have encounters with Tarzan, Alexander the Great, Billie Holliday, Picasso and a cartoon diva. He also learns a lot about himself--we gradually realise that there are major wounds in Michael's past with which he has failed to come to terms; in the end, his gift teaches him something about liking himself. This could have been a piece of playful erotic fluff, or a moralising piece of self-help sentimentality; Geoff Ryman gives us fluff and some serious morality, but also gives us heart and intelligence. We find ourselves caring that Michael gets through this without permanent damage, admiring the dogged brilliance he brings to finding out just what the limits of his gift are. --Roz Kaveney
Praise for 253:
‘Has more emotional depth than a festival of tear-jerkers’
‘A stylistically dazzling box of fireworks’
‘Astonishingly vibrant… lyrical and totally engaging’
Top Customer Reviews
The book raises questions about Messianic possibilities and the excruciatingly painful stings of humiliations due to missed opportunities and lost chances. The book realistically investigates Michael Blasco's "gift" and how even the possession of such a gift can still make one lonely, wanting and unfulfilled. The author seems to know the nuances and ramifications of love in its glory and loss at its most heart-rending.
The book has a lot of heart and a wry sense of humor and it ended with wise authority. I thought the conjuring of Billie Holiday and Pablo Picasso were original (I had fun reading Billie's envy to Ella Fitzgerald and how Teddy Wilson hated her and quickened the tempo of "What A Little Moonlight Can Do") and inspired.
Although the vivid descriptions of same sex copulations are an acquired taste, one can't help but laugh at Ryman's descriptions and comparisons to animals. His perspicacity in observing humans and how their faces tell many telling things are what gave this book its deserved excellence and timelessness.
This new found power begins to take over his life, affecting his work and relations with real people, and while he can have anyone he wants (he calls them angels), he seems unable to establish a loving relationship with a real person. But can he live with his angels, among whom he calls up missed opportunities from his own past as well as the likes of Billie Holiday, Tarzan, Lawrence of Arabia and Picaso, not to mention a cartoon character and an entire New Zealand team?
This makes for a most interesting story. Ryman approaches the idea sensibly, using Michael's scientific mind as a means of maintaining a sense of reality to the fantasy. He is able to explore his ruined childhood relationship with his father, divorced from his mother and with whom he would spend his summers in the US; gradually he learns about himself, and eventually gains self respect. The slightly misleading title, Lust, while being perhaps one of Michael's perceived problems, hides a very thought provoking and well reasoned storyline that ponders a number of interesting questions and possibilities, which Ryman does not neglect.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
After a great begining , surrealism in the tube station , it all became jus too silly for me . I just couldnt believe in the real people tarzan etc and so i found it all rather... Read morePublished on 9 Jan. 2012 by cartoon
Living in London, Michael Blasco, good looking at 38, has been in a relationship for around twelve years, but things have not been going too well of late, and while they still... Read morePublished on 14 Feb. 2010 by Benjamin
While the idea behind 'Lust' is an interesting one-- a man suddenly finds himself capable of conjuring up a living, sentient copy of anyone he finds attractive-- Ryman's... Read morePublished on 19 Oct. 2001 by firstname.lastname@example.org