So… I finally got around to reading Anne Rice’s Exit to Eden. I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to reading this. It’s one of like, 3 Femdom novels that I know of in existence. I think a lot of it had to do with the craptacular movie from 1994 that is “very loosely based” upon the novel. Thankfully, so loosely that the novel is an entirely different story.
I know I’m a bit late to the party on this one as it was a fairly mainstream kink novel for a long time that was written in the mid 1980’s.
The story is told from the first person perspective of the two main characters with each chapter covering whose point of view you are seeing it from.
1. Lisa – A single Domme and the visionary behind and one of the heads of “The Club,” which is a luxurious fantasy BDSM resort located in the Carribean on a private island.
2. Elliot – A single bisexual submissive handsome man who has signed a 2-year contract to be a slave on the island.
Lisa, who seems to be having a bit of a morality and identity crises chooses Elliot to train from the batch of incoming slaves.
I’m going to try not to spoil anything so I will say that this book basically has two halves. It is half kinky/erotic and it is half romance. The kinky/erotic half was pretty hot and the part of me that enjoyed that was left horribly hanging by the second half. I did find the romantic half to be somewhat fulfilling, but I can’t say that I enjoyed the story as much as I would have liked.
Worth reading once? Yes.
One thing I did enjoy is that it took a view at the BDSM community from 30 years ago. I wasn’t a part of that scene back then, but it was pretty consistent with what I was taught when I got started. In a lot of ways I liked parts of the portrayal. If you think about the pre-internet days, if you wanted kink porn you had to go to an adult bookstore and physically buy it or send a letter to a mail order catalog to get one and if you wanted to meet someone kink-friendly you had to place a personal ad in a physical paper/magazine or attend an actual event. This tended to bring out only the most serious individuals. The people who were brave enough to venture out into the world. I feel like the scene then was probably a lot more sacred. Things from this book feel a lot more Old Guard.
Back then there was the principle that to be a good dominant you must first have experienced submission to a good dominant. This pretty much ensured that the people who rose to the rank of dominant were dedicated, could fully empathize with subs, and knew how to manage a submissive responsibly. The role of dominant was something that you earned and the people who earned it understood the responsibility of the role.
The novel does a lot to try to argue for the morality of consensual kink. I dug that.
I’m not sure if their idea that kink-friendly people were fairly role fluid was the belief of the time, but that concept tends to exist within the story. There was a lot more understanding that your role was still your choice and there is no facade of gender superiority or the like. It gives an interesting glimpse into things from a perspective that seems to have been lost somewhere along the way.
A few things stood out to me while reading this. Things that I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t written over a thousand pages of erotica. One thing is that I could tell where the author wrote an act that they hadn’t experienced because I do the same thing: skimp on the details and speed up the pace. It’s strange to read 200 words describing an intimate 10 second kiss and then 40 words describe what was supposed to be 10 minutes worth of pegging.
Another thing is that holy crap, if people didn’t trust to say that I just read this now, I would swear they would have thought that I had read this before creating Wanda in fs02. The turbulence, the emotional swells, the desires, the inner conflicts, etc. I felt like I could relate more to Lisa half the time than I could to Elliot. Wanda was my imagining… before this… and she ended up being similar to Lisa in those ways. It actually gives me a load of confidence in my portrayal of her to have read this.
All in all, I enjoyed it, but the kinky side of myself really wished it had taken a different direction. I felt like I was left hanging in some ways.