All fits of pleasure are balanced by an equal degree of pain. – Jonathan Swift
Dusk Peterson’s Pleasure (Master/Other) is a story of slavery set in an alternate universe, though the setting isn’t really as important as the fact that it’s a story based around men and women whose lives include little more than working to see to the comfort and pleasure of the man who owns them. There is one man, however, a slave named Egon who works very hard to see to his own physical pleasure and in doing so, deceives himself, convinced that his sexual gratification gives pleasure to the many women he beds. Egon must learn how to turn his pleasure outward, to learn to give pleasure and in doing so, learn to derive pleasure from this unselfishness. There is one man who will make sure Egon learns that lesson well, and in doing so, Egon will learn the pleasure of submission.
This is a story of servitude and is, in the end, an unconventional and unexpected love story between two men who aren’t free in any sense of the word, but who nonetheless forge a loving bond.
This is the third of Dusk Peterson’s works I’ve read now, and I’m beginning to sense a pattern, at least in the books Life Prison, Debt Price, and now Pleasure. The common thread in each of the books is the author’s use of a single word, or in the case of Life Prison, two words, and then building an entire story around those words; sometimes distorting and twisting them into a contradiction of their definitions, but always finding a way to turn them into words layered with meaning and emotion.
This author’s books make me think. I can’t help but to try to read between the lines and look beneath the surface to see what I can find. One thing’s for sure, I manage to find something of interest every time I look.