Eighty Days Yellow

Although I did download a pdf copy of Fifty Shades of Grey (totally legally, of course), I never got to read further than Anastasia's first time, I laughed very hard at it, and was horrified that something so badly written had become a best-seller. So that was it for me with so-called "mommy porn" or  just erotic literature involving "unorthodox" sex. But one day, this happened:

This website wrongfully attributes me the Spanish translation of Vina Jackson's Eighty Days Yellow. I have no idea how that got there, and it's the only place I've seen it, so I'm assuming that... I have a fan? But I was curious about what kind of erotic novel I had been charged with. So I read my very first contemporary BDSM best-seller. Yay?

Eighty Days Yellow is the story of Summer Zahova, a violinist from New Zeland who struggles to make ends meet in London by playing her violin in any gig that she can find and working as a waitress in a cafe. When her violin is destroyed by a mob of angry football fans, she gets an offer by an anonymous "fan": she will get a new violin if she agrees to play naked in front of an audience. Thus she begins a musical-sexual relationship with Dominik. Meanwhile, in order to keep her sexual drive going, Summer embarks into the discovery of fetish clubs, rough sex and BDSM.

Summer is a rare character. She felt like a cold-hearted person, detached from life at all times except when she's playing her violin and gets carried away by the music. At the beginning of the novel, she is stuck in a relationship with a guy who cannot satisfy her needs, both emotionally (he can't seem to accept her personality) and sexually (once a month seems enough), and she breaks up with him because she needs more. She has a sexual hunger that cannot be easily filled. In order to help, her "friend" Charlotte introduces her to the world of fetish clubs and parties. Summer finds that rougher sexual practises take her to the same emotional state as playing the violin, so she starts trying new things as a submissive.

Enter Dominik, who makes an unrealistic amount of money for a university professor who is extremely turned on at the mere idea of dominating Summer sexually (do you see the badly hidden pun in his name now?). He offers her a limited-edition violin in exchange for private concerts in which she is to play naked. They have a lot of sex and both of them enjoy it so much that they eventually become afraid of whatever feelings are growing between them. And before they can get to figure out what kind of relationship they want to establish, things get fucked up (if the authors can make bad puns, so can I), and Summer flees to New York. There she meets Victor, who encourages to explore her darkest desires further, but it turns out in a way that she didn't quite expect, and she finally starts realizing her feelings for Dominik. 

I quite believed the story of Summer and Dominik's relationship as a couple (?) in the sense that I can see why two people who aren't huge fans of commitment wouldn't want to engage into a long-term relationship, no matter how good the sex is. I see how both of them want a certain exclusivity from the other one but are afraid of emotional bondage (I need to stop with these puns). 

But the sexual department of the book was... weird? To some extent I can understand that Summer needs to explore her desires and that she wants to try new, "unorthodox" things, but I can't understand why she can't stop after she realizes that is not what she really wants. It's like she is letting the circumstances take her in no particular direction, to push the limits so far until it's too late to stop, and it takes her a lot to learn to say "stop". So I would divide the sex scenes in two groups: the ones I'm fine with and the ones I read as quickly as possible because I don't understand how anyone can be turned on by that. 

All in all, Eighty Days Yellow was not a bad first experience with erotic literature, because at least it's well-enough written , but I don't really want to see what the next two volumes of Summer and Dominik's story offer, nor do I feel attracted to other novels of the same kind.


Anònim ha dit…
as one half of 'Vina Jackson', should I apologize for you being mistaken as our Spanish translator? As travelling in USA right now, can't actually look up a copy of the Spanish edition to see who translated it.

Thanks for the lukewarm review and at least finding it well-written...


Mar ha dit…
Oh, please, not at all! I would have actually liked to translate the novel, I just found it funny that they put my name there and it aroused my curiosity (no pun intended there, although...). Thanks for the comment ^^