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Winner of the Lambda Award for Gay Erotica 2014
In the 1978 Oliver Stone film Midnight Express, a young American is sent to a prison in Turkey for attempting to smuggle hashish out of the country. I was thinking again about this dark movie as I was reading The Padisah’s Son and the Fox, a new erotic novel by Alex Jeffers, whose cinematic qualities would facilitate its own film adaptation.
The story in set in the ancient Middle East. Izzet is a drug dealer whose father orders him to kill his younger brother because “there [is] something strange, unwholesome about the child.” Regrettably, Izzet listens to his father’s advice and takes his brother to a mountain with the intent of killing him. He changes his mind and convinces an old woman to care for the boy, though he somehow knows that the boy will bring tragedy upon him. Still, Izzet shrugs and rides off.
This is merely an introductory fragment in a larger narrative about two convicts in a present-day Turkish prison who have nothing to do but talk to each other. Yamyam, a killer, relates the story of Izzet to his young European-trained drug-dealing cohort, as they shuffle about cleaning the filthy jail. Besides weaving back and forth between the ancient brothers and the modern convicts, this heavily erotic tale features a fable about a shy little fox flitting about and a sex-crazed ogre who just wants his lust appeased.
As the story switches back and forth between eras, we are presented with Izzet’s intensely sensual misadventures. As Izzet rides into the wilderness, he constantly sees the little fox that darts away each time he comes closer. Who is this fox? Later, Izzet wrestles with an ogre, who eventually defeats him and proceeds to swallow his manhood. In addition, Izzet’s young brother, having never known a woman and thus unaware of what their perfumes and makeup are for, puts rouge on himself and sexually teases Izzet. As Izzet lies sleeping, the brother gazes upon and explores his body incestuously, finding his brother’s member awesome: “[My] hand won’t fit around it, and it didn’t. [I] used both hands.”
Yamyam is clearly relating the story of Izzet to arouse the lust of the prisoner trailing after him, yet his intentions are concealed. Is Yamyam’s tale a serious adult parable or a juvenile yarn told by a fickle, playful, drooling jester who is seducing and snickering at his cellmate at once? A wonderfully quick read—at merely 123 pages—about the Middle East past and present, Jeffers’ novel will leave the reader pondering its intersecting stories for some time to come.
The Padisah’s Son and the Fox
By Alex Jeffers
Paperback, 9781590211168, 123 pp.