The Other Side of Desire: Four Journeys into the Far Realms of Lust and Longing

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9780060885571: The Other Side of Desire: Four Journeys into the Far Realms of Lust and Longing

How do we come to be who we are sexually? How do we cope with the forces of desire? How can we understand the relationship between the transcendent and the physical, between the wish for love and the anarchy of the erotic? Award-winning writer Daniel Bergner looks for answers in the stories of four people whose unusual desires raise fascinating questions about the erotic differences between men and women and the nature of ecstasy itself.

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From the Publisher:

"Unsettling but riveting....what makes [this book] so powerful is that it's as much about desire and what's normal as it is an exploration of why we are the way we are, whether we like it or not."
- The New York Times Book Review

"Bergner investigates how `we become who we are sexually, whether our lusts are common or improbable.' The book's combination of titillation, shock value and documentary evokes a set of page-turning conundrums..."
-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"In carefully etched prose, Bergner unpacks the tightly twisted roots of desire, power seeking, self-hatred and theatricality that motivate his four pseudonymous subjects...Compassionate wisdom about dark needs."
-- Kirkus Reviews

"In a culture that pays clamorous lip service to the ideal of tolerance, Daniel Bergner's The Other Side of Desire is that rare instance of the real thing. The author levels a curious yet compassionate gaze at his subjects, who grapple with the way desire disfigures and exalts. In their struggles to accept themselves for wanting what they want, they are desperate, and often, heroic figures."
-- Will Blythe, author of To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever

"Daniel Bergner's characters live in erotic no-go zones where most of us would fear to tread. Their stories will sadden, enlighten, disturb, and move you--for they are completely, intimately human, which is a tribute to Bergner's great skill as a journalist and his understanding that the normal and perverse exist not in separate worlds but on a discomfiting, even threatening continuum."
-- George Packer, New York Times bestselling author of The Assassin's Gate

From the Back Cover:

How do we come to be who we are sexually?

How do we cope with the forces of desire?

How can we understand the relationship between the transcendent and the physical, between the wish for love and the anarchy of the erotic?

Daniel Bergner looks for answers in the stories of four people whose longings are very different from our own: a devoted husband burdened by an insatiable foot fetish, a clothing designer who finds ecstasy in the pain of others, a man smitten with his young stepdaughter, and an advertising director who casts traditionally beautiful models but who is attracted only to amputees. Bergner finds in their desires metaphors for the issues that confront us all and raises fascinating questions about the erotic differences between men and women and the nature of ecstasy itself: Are some people actually experiencing more ecstasy than the rest of us?

In speaking to experts in the fields of psychology and neurology, and by threading the personal stories of several modern-day Kinseys throughout his riveting case studies, Bergner has written a provocative, profoundly insightful, and brilliantly illuminating book about the most fundamental of human needs.

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