|Topping From Below|
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Topping From Below, by Reese, Laura. St. Martin's Press: New York, 1995. Edition: First Edition stated with full number line.. ISBN: 0312120001. Hardcover, 5.5 by 9. inches, 364 pages. Black cloth spine with purple metallic lettering; black paper over boards.
Condition: Good Plus in a Good Plus jacket. Lower spine end and lower corners bumped; small amount of spotting (coffee splash?) to top page eges. Jacket is rubbed with a little crimping at spine end and corners and a brownish stain (coffee again?) about 1 by 1/5 inches long that can be seen on the white inside of the back cover and a smaller stain of similar nature on the inside back jacket flap. There is no apparent damage to the cover itself in the areas where the jacket is stained.
Contents: The author's first novel is a highly charged erotic mystery that explores issues of dominance and submission, innocence and evil, played against a background comprised of most of the fantasies of the BDSM scene. There is everything here from plaid skirts and paddles to wax play to beastiality commanded for His filming pleasure by the dominent.
It is a story of two sisters, one of whom is found dead, having been brutally bound and tortured. Determined to find out as much as possible about her sister Franny's death, Nora reads her diary which reveals Franny's secret sadomasochistic affair with a professor known only as "M". In an attempt to uncover information about the murder, and seeking justice, Nora finds herself trapped in a passion so perverse and depraved, yet so compelling that she is willing to risk her life to be with "M".
One of the things that makes this novel such compelling reading is how it raises the issue of consent by using the two very different motivations of the sisters. One of them submits out of desperate love, hating everything she does but hoping that her willingness to do anything and everything commanded of her will finally win the love of her dominent. The other submits first as a ploy to find out more about her sister's last few months of life, and then finds that submission stirs some chord deep within her. The book raises philosophical issues about who has the real power in a power exchange relationship, and it raises moral issues about the dominent's responsibility to discern true consent from apparent consent.
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