A wholly new kind of coming-of-age story about lust, punishment, artistic drive and desires that defy the hard-won boundaries of the self
'Deeply empathetic and horny' CARMEN MARIA MACHADO
'Will quietly engulf you in flames' LING MA
'So incredibly hot' RACHEL YODER
'Hypnotic, sexy, smart' MELISSA FEBOS
When she first meets the choreographer at an artists' residency, they don't hit it off. She finds him loud, conceited, domineering. He thinks her serious, guarded, too precious about her work. But when he invites her to watch his dance company perform, something shifts.
Their interaction at the show sets off a summer of expanding sexual boundaries. Over weekends sequestered at his summer house in upstate New York, her body learns to obediently follow his, and his desires quickly become inextricable from her pleasure - and her pain.
Back in Boston, her roommate's concern amplifies her own doubts about these heady weekend retreats. What does it mean for a young, queer woman to be with an older man? For a fledgling artist to attach herself to an established one? Is she following her own agency, or is she merely following him?
And does falling in love have to mean eviscerating yourself?
Songsiridej's hot and sometimes heavy-handed debut tracks the relationship of an unnamed narrator, a writer, with a choreographer 20 years her senior. Though the choreographer had initially annoyed the narrator when they met at a residency (he called her "Little Rabbit" because she was "always running off to work"), she agrees to attend his dance performance. Eventually, they begin sleeping together. "Rabbit" commutes from the Boston area to visit him, either at his luxe New York City apartment or his spacious Berkshires country house. Her roommate and best friend, Annie, disapproves; Rabbit is bisexual and Annie, a lesbian, wants her to date women. But the choreographer has a wealthy ex-wife benefactor, and to pay it forward, he offers to support Rabbit's writing career. As Rabbit gets in deeper, the relationship veers into S&M territory, and though Rabbit does not want to be the choreographer's "little woman," she enjoys playing a submissive role. Some of the messages about class differences and sexuality feel a bit overstated, but the progression of the relationship is subtle and intriguing, and Songsiridej pulls off sex scenes that a lesser writer could have made cringeworthy. It adds up to an addictive tale of obsessive love.