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The Lost Diary of Don Juan: A Novel Paperback – July 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The famously insatiable lover is brought brilliantly to life in this lively, suspenseful debut novel by Abrams (coauthor of The Multi-Orgasmic Couple; The Multi-Orgasmic Man). Framed as Don Juan's long-guarded diary, the narrative picks up at a gallop and never relents, tracing Don Juan's orphaned upbringing at a convent and torturous monastery before he escapes and joins a band of thieves. He is soon introduced to the Marquis, who trains the then amateur Lothario to become equally adept at swordsmanship and seducing women. (Abrams's background in Taoist sexuality is evident in the latter's scenes.) Don Juan develops a reputation as "some kind of demon," but the Marquis, who is close to the king, protects Don Juan from the inquisitor general's plans to punish him. Nevertheless, Don Juan resists the Marquis's plea that he marry to save himself, claiming he has no interest in love—until he meets pistol-packing firebrand Doña Ana. Abrams renders his hero with sympathetic understanding, and his erotic exploits—though heavy on plumage ("I sipped the moist nectar of her mouth as she opened her petals to me")—round out Don Juan instead of providing one-handed reading material. The story unspools with the invigorating trajectory of a thriller and the emotional draw of historical romance. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Set in the city of Seville during the reign of Philip II, at the end of the sixteenth century, this purported diary of Juan Tenario recounts his childhood raised by nuns in a convent, adolescent disillusionment, and escape to the city of Seville. There he becomes, first, a cat burglar, then the protege of the powerful Marquis de la Mota, who teaches him spying, swordplay, the appreciation of fine wine, and the seduction of women. The plot is lent tension by Tenario's increasingly complicated life: King Philip wants him to marry (someone, anyone); Don Ignacio, the head of Seville's Inquisition, wants him to burn; and the marquis plans to marry his only true love, Dona Ana. Abrams takes liberties with the social details of the time but treats historical occurrences with accuracy. Characters are stock, and the action is largely predictable. The resolution, however, has its surprises. A fast, suspenseful read. Ellen Loughran
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (July 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416532528
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416532521
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #827,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Douglas Carlton Abrams is a former editor at the University of California Press and HarperSanFrancisco. He is the co-author of a number of books on love, sexuality, and spirituality, including books written with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar, and Taoist Master Mantak Chia. He is the co-founder of Idea Architects, a book and media development agency, which works with visionary authors to create a wiser, healthier, and more just world. In his life and work, he is interested in cultivating all aspects of our humanity 'body, emotions, mind, and spirit. His goal in writing fiction is to create stories that not only entertain, but also attempt to question, enchant, and transform.

The Lost Diary of Don Juan, which Atria will release in May 2007, is his first novel and will be published in twenty-seven countries around the world. He lives in Santa Cruz, California, with his wife and three children.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on May 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In Seville, he was named Juan Tenorio, but his mother abandons him near a monastery. Nuns secretly raise and torture the child even as they train him to cherish and worship women. He eventually runs away from the nasty environs to become an outlaw. Eventually he meets the Marquis de la Mota, who teaches him to be a master spy, a master swordsman, and a master lover. He is so adept at the latter; some consider him to be a demon. Hearing word of the legend of lovemaking, the inquisitor general investigates Don, who refuses to wed even at the coaxing of his mentor as a means of saving his life. That is until he encounters the fiery warrior woman Dona Ana.

Using the device of finding Don Juan's diary to tell his story works brilliantly in Douglas Abrams' superior historical fictional memoir of the renowned lover from his perspective. By writing the saga through the journal, Don Juan becomes more than a one head joke as the audience sees a full blooded person with wants and desires that are not only in the boudoir. Interestingly when Don Juan describes a conquest (and not just with women), he waxes poetic like a romance writer. Readers will enjoy this fast-paced account of the world's greatest lover as he plunges into one escapade (and woman) after another.

Harriet Klausner
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By JR on May 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I found this book mesmerizing -- and at the same to have a very deep heartful side to it. It's an amazing page turner, exciting as hell, with a plot that just keeps twisting and turning so that you can't wait to see what happens next. Meanwhile, the main character, Don Juan, slowly becomes ever more real and more human. He begins as the notorious seducer of women, with an attitude towards his conquests that, no surprise, is almost cavalier. He will be with no woman more than once. He recognizes and awakens and serves their desire, but then departs. But as time and fortune have their way with him in this absolutely thrilling telling, his heart starts to open, and almost in spite of himself he finds himself falling utterly in love with the one woman he cannot seem to impress. After decades of conquests, the man whose very name has come to be synonymous with seduction for seduction's sake, comes to question how he has lived and is ready for a much greater adventure. Does he find that a single kiss in the arms of your true beloved is worth more than a thousands nights with a thousand different women? I won't spoil the story for you by giving away the outcome, but I will say this: If you have ever wondered how -- or if -- sexual liberation and monogamous commitment can go together, read this book. It's a spellbinding story that left me breathless, wanting more, and also deeply affirmed in my choice to be true to one woman.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David Island on March 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
D. C. Abrams' "The Lost Diary of Don Juan" is a novel written about the fictional character Don Juan in the context of the infamous heyday of the Spanish Inquisition - approximately in the 1590s.

What rings true here is Abrams' scathing, withering condemnation of the Catholic Church and the ruling Spanish Aristocracy, the promulgators of this medieval holocaust, where countless innocent people were murdered because of their beliefs. Well, actually, they were murdered because they did not believe in Catholic ideas and rituals.

Beyond being buoyed by Abrams' correct take on actual history, his tale of Don Juan is little more than a faux-lascivious and grossly salacious little soap opera.

What's interesting is that this author is a sexologist. Often in the dialogue between Don Juan and his female tutors (or their private thoughts), you can clearly hear the echo of a sex therapy session, where the counselor conducting the therapy has a huge axe to grind, regarding the oafishness of men as the inadequate partner in less-than-satisfying heterosexual sex-making. Don Juan instructs the reader in the proper ways to make love.

It doesn't take much "reading between the lines" to see the point: monogamy and utter and undying devotion to the woman are the only acceptable values in marriage. Further, men are almost always the culprits in bad marriages, because they do not know how to honor a woman's body and perform properly. Woman's infidelity comes from one source: the inadequate male she to whom she is married.

It's all heterosexual, pro-straight-marriage blather, enough to make a reader feel like upchucking periodically. Don Juan's only fault was that he was unable to love only one woman.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kate Chopin VINE VOICE on June 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
First of all, I would love for this book to be required reading for all males. Don Juan's passion and worship of women is a refreshing take on the possibilities of lust and love. But it's not all seduction and cheesy euphanisms for bodyparts - - the dangerous suspense in this book never lets up.

The characters shine: the ruthless Inquisitor set on freeing Sevilla from the threat of pleasure; Don Juan, a fierce libertine intent on soothing the lonely bodies of neglected women; the satisfied wife Serena and the prostitutes in her brothel; and an intense, uninterested virgin who will only marry for love while her father sells her to the highest noble bidder. Throughout the book, all of these characters debate whether or not marriage is a prison, how a man could ever be happy with only bedding one woman for life despite living in a brothel, and whether or not love and lust are compatible and for how long?

This book is perfect for those interested in passion, seduction, intrigue and strong men and women characters.
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