Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Book Review: Lust & Philosophy by Isham Cook

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Lust & PhilosophyLust & Philosophy by Isham Cook
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ex-Pat in Beijing, Isham Cook, takes us through the mundane life of an adjunct English faculty member that turns out to be not so mundane after all. Isham has a habit of turning every interaction that is supposed to be just between a teacher and student in English into something suggestive. When he isn't doing that; he's setting off the nudity alarms at his massage school that was meant to be an escape from the over-intellectualizing of everything at Univerity of Chicago. Isham has a history of bad luck that precedes all this.

He was born into a family where his mom married a man named Joe who took them all over the world and never allowed Isham the freedom or funds to actually enjoy or experience the places he visited. One particular thing he wanted to experience in all of these places was the women. He improved his success rate as he went and even though his original bewitching beauty in Beijing does a disappearing act, he finds a way that transcends reality to reunite with her.
We follow Isham on a long journey through layers of time in his life, partners, ideas that have been important, works of art that have intrigued deep meditations, and experiments with those meditations on life.
Isham does an excellent job of reflecting the voices, ideas and concerns of a certain type of academic or aspiring academic and the subcultures they often find themselves in to explore identity, beliefs, and sexuality. Lust & Philosophy contains some delightfully quotable passages and is just the thing you might be craving if The Broom of the System didn't have enough sexual encounters for you.
I think the plot could have been a bit tighter and I found it difficult to find the characters sympathetic at times, particularly Isham. He was easiest to understand in the context of rebelling against his stepfather.

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FCC Notice: This review is based on an electronic galley received from the author for review purposes. No other compensation has been provided for this review.