Story Rating: 4 out of 5 paddles
Sting Factor (kink): 1 out of 5
Twisted is an astonishing first novel, which chronicles the experiences of Julia, an 18 year old Ukrainian girl, in the sex trade, during the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union. It’s a compulsive read, I finished it in a day, fast paced and blackly comic but it is not an erotic novel. Unless, that is, you find scat arousing. I don’t but her description of the scat obsessed yogi had me weeping with laughter.
Julia is 18 when she makes her decision to join her two older sisters as an ‘entertainer’ in the Luxembourg champagne bars. These young women are not naive victims of sex trafficking but are well aware of the risks involved in the European sex trade. The work is often dull and arduous and the clients are a mostly repellent bunch and I did wonder why three well educated young women from a stable and loving family would choose this particular occupation. The author gives the following explanation;
“You never know what lack of money, poor social security, alluring TV shows with their fabulous people and luxury things, a desperate desire to have a decent life and young age can do to you”.
Julia’s sisters attempt to advise and protect her but she is stubborn and willful and soon finds that copious amounts of alcohol and cocaine are the aids that help her deal with the realities of sex work.
Broke and without the protection of her sisters, Julia moves to Istanbul, where she negotiates a much more hostile environment than the Luxembourg champagne bars. A second novel by the author is due for publication in 2015, this time set in South Africa. I’m looking forward to reading it.
Reviewed by Ariadne