The Hourglass by Anne Weller
3 out of 5 stars
The Hourglass is the story of a woman visiting Italy in search of an elusive text for her dissertation. Along the way she meets the owner of the elusive text and enters into a series of seductions in order to gain access to the prized book.
The Hourglass is written in a very different style than I am used to reading and I found it intriguing and disturbing at the same time. There is no dialogue in the entire story. It’s like reading someone’s journal, describing their most intimate encounters. This journal-like reading disturbed and intrigued me, as I felt like a voyeur into someone’s private thoughts.
Mary found her way to the owner’s villa in Italy and bribed the housekeeper in order to get access to this elusive and obscure text. While in the library looking for the book, Mary gets caught by the owner. In exchange for allowing access to the book, he proceeds to extract his cost from her in the form of groping. His hands-on pursuit of her body continues until the sand on an hourglass runs out. Mary allows this. This type of encounter occurs several times during the story.
On the one hand these encounters were intriguing and erotic but at the same time they were creepy. Mary and the owner did not have any conversations as she spoke no Italian and he spoke no English. All of their encounters were completely silent, except for her cries of passion. The final encounter did include an interpreter where Mary agrees to become his slave in exchange for access to the elusive text.
The lack of conversation really creeped me out. In addition I felt like his acts were extortion, give me what I want or you can’t see the text. While this was not specifically stated, it was implied and it bothered me. There were no negotiations, it was his way or no way. It also disturbed me that Mary just readily accepted this fact and did as he wished.
I gave this story 3 stars instead of 4 as I couldn’t get past the creepy factor. It really disturbed me that these two individuals were engaging in these sexual encounters without benefit of any type of conversation or negotiation.
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I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.