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Slow Hand


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Stories about sex can have many goals, but erotica's prime raison d'etre is always to provoke ``strong skin responses,'' in Slung's ( I Shudder at Your Touch ) apt phrase. This collection of 19 stories by and for women offers enough variety to stimulate virtually any taste. Each with a brief editor's foreword and author's note, the entries explore many nuances of sexuality, more than a few positions and some of the most daunting sexual issues there are. Represented are bisexuality, voyeurism, the line between violence and desired force (``to be made to do what I wanted to do,'' observes the woman narrating Lisa Tuttle's ``The Story of No''), sex for love and sex for sex. The stories place context on a par with action, a different recipe than that of most erotica directed toward men. As reading experiences, some tales fare better than others. Carole Maso's ``The American Woman in the Chinese Hat'' attempts ``an homage to . . . Robbe-Grillet, and the French Nouveau roman,'' while such stories as ``Oh, Brother,'' by Bea Wilder, seem only recollections of sexual memories. Many readers will welcome the realism that informs most of these tales: protagonists who are aging, afraid, confused or aggressive, and who admit their failings as readily as they proclaim their desires. BOMC alternate. (July)

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