In a stylish, literate, and entertaining update of the classic "Story of O," Ernest Greene brings Pauline Reage's tale of erotic submission to modern-day Los Angeles to look at it through new eyes. In Greene's version, the story is just as much that of brothers Ray and Steven, as it is about O, who serves them both.
"Master of O" include detailed depictions of BDSM techniques like bondage, flogging, and electrical stimulation, but also explores the remarkable intimacy and trust that comes from being on either side of that equation with unflinching honesty.
R age's original (Story of O) made art of anonymity, ambiguity and narrow focus. In typical Hollywood fashion, these modest virtues have been replaced with vulgar confessionalism in this unexceptional reboot from the dominant perspective. However, given the subject of the exercise, a little vulgarity goes a long way to make up for weaknesses in the execution. Readers will appreciate Greene's accurate portrayal of Los Angeles and scholarly presentation of credentials in subjects deviant and delightful, but protagonist Steven Diamond does not hold the reader's focus relentlessly, as R age's O did. Intent on fixing other people's problems Steven's gaze is turned outward; he takes in the value of a good suit in exacting detail, just as he does with a good slave. A collector of beauty, preoccupied with loss, Steven manages everyone's best interests but his own. This leads to a cruelly specific and predictable conclusion. Green replies to R age's question marks with definitive statements, all of them painful and devoid of thoughtful fantasy or happy endings.