In the tradition of Georges Bataille, Kathy Acker and Jean Genet, these twenty-six erotic encounters combine to form a highly charged alphabet on the pursuit of pleasure and possibilities of language.
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A nameless man graphically details his experiences as he cruises from parks to sex clubs in a relentless pursuit of pleasure and sexual gratification. Powerfully staging these anonymous encounters and describing each with luminous intensity, he continually tests the boundaries of sex, desire and the body until he is faced with the ultimate challenge: to capture adequately in words the physical sensations he experiences.
Jonathan Kemp is also the author of London Triptych (Myriad, 2010) and Ghosting (Myriad, 2015).
Erotica for the Big Brain
The language is beyond impressive, though Kemp consciously expends a great deal of it to lament the very inadequacies of language, the impotence of mere words confronting the sublime nexus of thought and sensation… Jonathan Kemp’s twentysix is emphatically, ardently, passionately recommended!View source
Although the book’s primary subject is sexuality, it would be wrong to call this a collection of erotic fantasy stories. Twentysix sets itself apart by virtue of its own necessary bleakness. There is no fantasy to Kemp’s masterful prose as he portrays a realistic and sometimes heartbreaking outlook on the search for sexual fulfillment.View source
All Letters Are Queer
Like Georges Bataille and Jean Genet before him, Kemp’s prose is titillating, dark, and honest to its core.View source
Stuff As Dreams Are Made On
A wonderful book...so much more than just erotic stories though. It's a dictionary of sex, an exploration of love between two men, two people, a case study of sexual encounters. It presented so beautifully too, with haunting passages that surpass what we so often assume will come with the term 'erotica'. There's deep meaning to this novel too. Some stories are beautiful, some disgusting, some full of passion, some kinky, and some...well just sexy.
A series of original, highly charged erotic encounters, Jonathan Kemp's collection has a short, carefully crafted tale for every letter of the alphabet. From cruising grounds to sex clubs, Twentysix is set to take the reader on a lyrical journey that explores the pursuit of pleasure. A must-read for all admirers of Kemp's critically acclaimed London Triptych.
The Eskimos have fifty words for snow, but our vocabulary for describing sexual experiences is peculiarly limited. In this explicit book, twenty-six encounters are chronicled by an anonymous character whose literary frustration often leads to unexpected adjectives and inventive similes... It is a meditation of the problems of recording the abstract in figurative form... Honest and sharply written.
Steamy, saucy and stimulating.
Gay’s The Word
Twentysix is a glorification of the profane in the tradition of such luminaries Jean Genet and Allen Ginsberg...These are twenty-six beautiful, intense and extraordinary incantations of desire, twenty-six discourses on intercourse, written in language that is at the same time brutal, tender and transformative; in the act of reading, the reader becomes part of something precious, powerful and profound.
It adeptly explores the dizzying heights and dark depths of sexuality. Kemp takes no prisoners as he consistently delivers stunning imagery which assaults the senses with a sometimes brutal take on the reality of sex and its effects on the mind and, potentially, the soul... As it edges towards its own shivering climax, this collection of short stories will leave you hot under the collar and always wishing for more.