Review of ZANE'S SEX CHRONICLES by Zane
Atria Books, August 2008
A variety of women, mostly women of color, lack something from the sexual parts of their relationships. Unfaithful men, men who don't bother checking to see if the woman is enjoying sex as much as they are, or simply women who need more than their men are willing to provide fill these stories by Zane (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of erotic fiction by Zane).
Zane's goal, throughout the twenty stories included in the ZANE'S SEX CHRONICLES collection, seems to be a combination of sex advice (take responsibility for your own pleasure and practice safe sex), and a variety of situations where characters don't bother taking that advice. Women find one-night stands in bus stations, laundromats, at parties with others watching, with male prostitutes, even, briefly, with another woman. In Zane's world, sex is commercialized (she deals with both male and female prostitutes), but also sometimes rare as her female characters must sometimes do without for long periods of time.
Zane uses dialect enough to provide a genuine feel for these stories, but not to the extent that they become hard to read (who knew that fine was spelled F-O-I-N-E?). Intriguingly, the sex itself is mostly fairly vanilla--although Zane seems to prefer woman-on-top or doggy-style to missionary positions. It's the surprise factor, the sudden decision to liberate oneself from convention, and the willingness to recognize the role of sex as a key factor in happiness that makes these stories work.
In the short story format, it's always difficult to show much character growth and character is certainly not the focus of these stories. Perhaps that's the point, however. Rather than look at how other women deal with sex and love, Zane allows the reader to put themselves in the place of a fairly generic female character--one surrounded by supernaturally hung and ready males.
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