This may be the sexiest book you've ever read. It is also, at turns, among the funniest and the most harrowing and the most moving and the most lyrically beautiful of books. And it is also a book of uncompromising artistic integrity. They Whisper is an astonishingly rare thing in this sex-conscious age: a serious-work of literary art that directly and unflinchingly addresses the subject of modern heterosexuality.
Butler's narrator is Ira Holloway, who as he moves into middle age is driven to examine his sexuality and its profound hold on him. Ira is, in many respects, an ordinary man: son of a steelworker, he is a husband and father a Vietnam Vet, he works now as public relations man. But the details of Ira's quotidian life are of little real importance in his story. He lives - as so many men do - in an ongoing internal landscape populated by all the many women he has loved. And continues to love - instinctively, comprehensively, creatively, deeply. So deeply, in fact, that as he relives the moments of intimacy with them, Ira often speaks in the voices of these women. This weaving of the inner voices of both a man and the women he's loved creates a narrative driven by intuition and sensuality and free of theories and cant intellectualizing. The result is a compelling, profound, and timely examination of human sexuality and, not incidentally, one of the most rapturously erotic books of our time.
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