The Cleaner Side of Dirty

Genre: Erotic Fiction

Author: Tobsha Learner

Publisher: Harper Collins

Press Year: 2011

RRP: $32.99

Yearn by Tobsha Learner, it should be warned, is not the kind of book to read on a train, or a bus, or in the park, or in your family living room, or -lets face it- in any place where your pink-tinged blushes will be noticed.

The collection of 9 short stories border on the cleaner side of dirty, but the cheeky tales are still the kind of bedtime reading that’s best kept hidden from Nan. It’s typical of romantic, erotic fiction with its funny names for sexual organs and blush worthy sex scenes. But beyond the naughtiness that seems to be a sort of hook for the novel there are some really skillful examples of prose.

Funnily enough the best story in the book is the only sexless one there. Learner’s tale of the morbidly obese desk jockey who lives as a sex-warrior/predator in cyber world Second Life is bitterly funny, well crafted and sings with a kind of voice not evident in the rest of the pieces. It’s hard to write sex in distinctive character voices and this is something Learner struggles with. But beyond this the stories work well, both collectively and as stand-alone pieces.

There is nothing wrong with a bit of sneaky sex, and Yearn is the kind of indulgence that would certainly become the ‘town bike’ of the ladies’ friendship circles. It could well and truly make Lady Chatterley blush, but its written with enough care and sophisticated to keep it firmly off the porno pages.

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