Out of curiosity (I wanted to see just why they thought it would be up my alley) and my willingness to review “anything that I can safely use”, I agreed to accept a copy in exchange for an unbiased review.
(Quite foolishly, I might add. I suck at sitting down and reading books when I “have” to.
I’ve still got a bit of the book left to read. I’ve now finished the book.)
The tag line on the back of the book is
“What if Dorian Gray faked his death and led a secret life?”
and then the teaser leads on with mention of Parisian bordellos in jazz age France, opium dens in Marrakesh, and the captivation of seductive obscurity in South America. All in all, without ever cracking the book open I was quite intrigued.
About The Wilde Passions Of Dorian Gray
Mitzi Szereto picks up at the end of The Picture Of Dorian Gray, and through a twist keeps the story going… putting you in the front seat on a sordid ride with Dorian Gray through several locales and the lives of several people, never allowing you to get too attached to most characters for long enough to encourage a deep attachment (but still allowing you to care for the characters nonetheless).
With what this novel could have been.. a smutty homage to the “hidden” tendencies of Oscar Wilde, Mitzi has done a wonderful job of painting extravagant scenes of debauchery but not crossing the line into “fuck writing”. The erotic scenes (and there are plenty of them) are sprinkled throughout a story that doesn’t go wanting for more plot. Admittedly, there are scenes that cross over into downright decadent moments of passion and lust…
Afterall: A man who lives for so long must seek more twisted thrills to feel alive.
Sordid sexual interludes that take Dorian to the doctor pop up often later in the novel; as do the Oadby’s (a couple from times past, almost as is if they are following Dorian everywhere for more) and eventually Dorian falls in love with a woman (something entirely unexpected given the tendencies exhibited most of the way through the book).
More timid readers should pick up The Wilde Passions Of Dorian Gray carefully, as the elegant imagery can fade to murder rather quickly; straight readers may want to avoid it due to the several detailed man on man scenes.
Overall Opinion of The Wilde Passions Of Dorian Gray
It’s been a LONG time since I read the book “The Picture Of Dorian Gray”, but The Wilde Passions Of Dorian Gray still pulled me in pretty quickly. The descriptions of decadence and debauchery grabbed hold and kept me reading even though the homoerotic scenes aren’t my cup of tea. Mitzi Szereto has done a wonderful job of writing an erotic novel that isn’t riddled with horrid euphemisms, and an even better job of describing settings and the environs which Dorian Gray finds himself in.
I felt for Dorian several times while reading, and came to hate some of the characters because they are written so well. The depth of Dorian’s depravity is exquisitely shown in his pursuit of something more… always looking for something that feels more intense be it good OR bad.
Dorian is a fucking pervert, and chances are if you are reading this review… so are you (Go You! Seriously…. You should subscribe for more perversion here!).
If you enjoy exceptional writing and can enjoy a book for what it is, please consider picking The Wilde Passions Of Dorian Gray up by clicking the cover below and ordering directly from Cleis Press or the links below!