with intense eagerness since 2012! a channel of the los angeles review of books

50 Shades of Outlander

You: you have to choose.  Between the present and the past; the watch and the longsword, the suit and the kilt. Your hair is backlit, and blows in the highland wind.

Your hair is stuck to your sweaty neck.  You are in a dungeon. It’s a dungeon in a penthouse, in the Pacific northwest.

No.  The dungeon is in a castle.  You are a nurse. There is a war.

fifty-shades-greyThe war is a corporate takeover.  Your old bad boss is now owned by your new better boss, who has an Audi and a dungeon in a penthouse, in the Pacific northwest.

In the Pacific northwest you are wearing a cardigan.  You are not interesting, are you? You are just doing an interview, because college. You have bangs and an old-timey notebook. You’re asking a question.

The question is for you, and it is: who are you?  You did not know you were this interesting. You have fallen through time. You’re interrogated. You are suspicious of the Laird. Are you a guest? Or are you a prisoner?

You are a prisoner.  You are tied up, but in silk, which is slippery on your sweaty neck. You are not wearing a cardigan.  You are not wearing anything, but silk.

You think briefly of Olivia Pope, who also wears silk. If you were Olivia Pope, you would probably be tied up in white silk. You would read that!

You are not wearing white silk. You are wearing cream jersey, a dress with princess seams, a pearl button, and a crocodile belt.  You are either wearing the perfect demure lipstick or have lips naturally the color of the perfect demure lipstick. Your hair is curled. It is Scotland. You are still backlit.

jamie croppedNow your new and better boss is backlit.  So is his helicopter. Everyone looks better when they are backlit, which is why everyone is always backlit.  Your new boss is named Christian Grey, which is sort of like a symbol, but pleasantly not one requiring much thought.  Christian has some scars, about which you have questions. You feel that maybe he should have slightly better abs.

You miss your old husband but your new husband has better abs, and also scars.  He is a soldier and sensitive.  He has been injured, and you have questions. You are a nurse. You understand scars. In fact no on else understands scars, not like you. You think about your old husband, who has a convertible, and takes you on holiday.  You are so conflicted.

You are so conflicted.  You have an expensive dress, many expensive dresses, designer  ones, with price tags. You think about the dresses when you are naked with the silks. The dresses make you both more and less conflicted.  You say Argh.  This is the sound of being simultaneously very satisfied and very conflicted.

Actually the sound of being simultaneously very satisfied and very conflicted is Beyoncé, but slowed down.

Beyoncé slowed down is the best sound: it is the sound of slipping into an Audi in your expensive dress; the sound of a man with good abs in a kilt with a past.  Beyoncé slowed down is the sound of a penthouse in the highlands, with a dungeon you can leave. Beyoncé slowed down is the sound that you make when you realize it’s all in your hands because the man’s made his choice, and the man  —  the man with the watch, the helicopter, the highlands, the penthouse, the sword —  the man chooses you, you, you.


Sarah Mesle: A little judgy.

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