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When the NY Times runs a 2/3rd page article on the sex book industry can a resurgence of erotic stories be far behind? T. Martin Woody's "Whileaway" seems to have caught the wave with 5 delicious short stories ranging from the merely ribald to the hilarilously pornographic. Unlike most porn, which exhibits all the finesse of car crash, Woody's stories are not only clever-they have actual plots-but the frenetic sex occurs as the natural outcome of the always twisted story lines. (Roald Dahl's "Kiss-Kiss" comes to mind.)
The two stories of greatest interests to the target audience ("men, ages 18-80") are "Monika," a sweet, torrid lesbian coming of age encounter of an exquisitely dressed older woman with a young girl at a Baltic beach resort, and "The Nun." The latter is an engineer's damp dream as a make believe psychiatrist cleverly bamboozles an earnest Nun sent by her diocese to attend a religious conference on martial intimacy. The Nun may be innocent, but she is no fool.
The piece de resistance is a 17,000-word "pornovella" called "The short happy life of Harry A. Winston." Franz Kafka wrote "The Metamorphosis" in which the subject awakes one morning to find that he has been turned into a beetle. In "Short Happy Life," the hero is a flabby 44-year old illustrator who has been turned into a 17-year old boy. The title is a reference to the "The short happy life of Francis Macomber" by Ernest Hemingway. That tale is about a coward who goes on African Safari with his cheating wife. For one glorious split second as an elephant charges him, he finally overcomes his fear and shoots it, just as his wife shoots him. Woody's 44-year old protagonist remains a 17-year old a little longer-a full week. Long enough to live out the life-long dream of every man-to return to high school as a youth, but with the mind of an adult. In this case a very randy adult. The twists and turns of this plot is exceeded only by the incredible series of escapades Harry enjoys in his one week culminating with a spectacular conjugation at the Senior Prom. I never knew high school romances could be so complicated-and so funny.