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The Other Side of Desire: Four Journeys into the Far Realms of Lust and Longing Paperback – March 9, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“In this fascinating book, Bergner, with a novelist’s eye but a reporter’s grit, examines amputee devotees and S&M fanatics without resorting to sensationalism.” (Metro New York)
“Girded with scientific data about the nature of sexual identity, The Other Side of Desire is a foray into extreme passion, in quest of the human soul.” (O, The Oprah Magazine)
“In carefully etched prose, Bergner unpacks the tightly twisted roots of desire, power seeking, self-hatred and theatricality that motivate his four pseudonymous subjects…Compassionate wisdom about dark needs.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Searching, deeply humane. . . . Our reactions to the stories Daniel Bergner recounts reveal as much about ourselves as they do about his oddly winning subjects.” (Jennifer Egan, bestselling author of THE KEEP)
“Daniel Bergner’s characters live in erotic no-go zones where most of us would fear to tread. Their stories will sadden, enlighten, disturb, and move youfor they are completely, intimately human.” (George Packer, New York Times bestselling author of THE ASSASSIN'S GATE)
“Attentive, carefully controlled…[Bergner’s] goal is empathy. He gives depth and shadow to his subjects’ longing, never mocking, oversimplifying or vilifying.” (Washington Post Book World)
“Unsettling but riveting....what makes [this book] so powerful is that it’s as much about desire and what’s normal as it is an exploration of why we are the way we are, whether we like it or not.” (New York Times Book Review)
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Bergner's status as a skillful writer for the New York Times Magazine shows in his ability to bring both insight and compassion to bear on characters that might otherwise come off as mere freaks. The narrative is woven around four stories, involving a dominatrix, a foot fetishist, an amputee fetishist and -- of interest to those of us who work with sex offenders -- an incestuous stepfather. Describing that case of "Roy," Bergner introduces competing theories of sex offending and describes the time he spent with Roy's pedophilia therapy group as well as with well-known experts in the field.
If you are undecided about whether to buy this book, you can start with a little taste from the Internet: Bergner's New York Times article of January 22, 2009, "What Do Women Want?" illustrates his knack for translating dry science into accessible prose.Read more ›
A: Weird is when you use a feather. Kinky is when you use the whole chicken.
That's essentially what you get with this book, but what is weird, and what is kinky? Where's the break line, and who gets to define where the line is? What is it like if you're on the "wrong" side?
I came to this book after reading Mary Roach's outstanding Bonk. The two are very different in content and approach, but the core subject is still the same, and the two complement each other quite well. I recommend Roach's book be read first, one because it's better written and more entertaining, and two because it's a better overview and serves as a good foundation from which to explore.
This book is about what Bergner calls "eros," the fringes of desire, or to be much more direct, sexual desire. The heart of the book asks what is a fetish, and when does it become a liability? How does one end up saddled with an overpowering fetish, or urge? And most importantly, is such a fetish normal or abnormal?
There are four real-world observations--these aren't nearly direct and detail-laden enough to be called "case studies"--on that edge. One reader will call these people sick or twisted or even evil, while another might just place them in the decidedly flatter areas of the traditional bell curve of human sexuality. Bergner's biggest success in this book is that he provides no solid judgment of his own as to whether these folks are wrong/right or normal/deviant; the reader is left to make that determination, if such a determination is even appropriate.
This is definitely an adult read, 18+.Read more ›
This book sheds a good deal of light on the subject of paraphilia's and, although "normalization" is not the precise word for what happens here, one's understanding and compassion about the issue becomes greatly enhanced. I heartily recommend it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have bought this book for a few people. It is eye opening and moving, and changed my perspective on sexual fetishes, and I view them with a lot more respect and understanding.Published 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
This book functions like a sexy version of Michael Pollan's Botany of Desire.
Really it is very veyr interesting, but the description makes you think it is a book heavy... Read more
While the subject matter is compelling- what is a "kink", and how does it come about?- this book offers very little in the way of insights or information. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Cissa
I bought this book thinking that it dealt with desire, lust, and longing in terms of chemicals in the brains or something along that line. Read morePublished on January 31, 2014 by bananas
Very fascinating book. I chose it to write a paper on for my human sexuality class. A little bit overwhelming at some parts, and almost dry at others. Overall a great read though.Published on October 11, 2013 by Sarah Farman
Very eye opening and thought provoking. Even as a writer of erotica this book opened my eyes to new horizons.Published on October 2, 2013 by Christopher J. Rosalie
Very interesting book on sexual deviant life. Delivery was on time. The book was in perfect condition. I bought two paperback copies as I am using one for teaching puposes.Published on September 18, 2013 by Michael Welikson
Told with authority, yet lacking in research. A few examples given and then expounded on and that's it. Not worth looking at.Published on July 18, 2013 by David Colson