Review: The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray by Mitzi Szereto

The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray by Mitzi Szereto
Release Date: November 19, 2013
Publisher: Cleis Press
Pages: 216
Source: Book provided by the publisher for review

 

 

Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s classic novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, Mitzi Szereto’s Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray continues where Wilde left off with the Faustian tale of a man of eternal youth and great physical beauty who lives a life of corruption, decadence and hedonism. The story begins in the bordellos of Jazz-Age Paris, moving to the opium dens of Marrakesh and the alluring anonymity of South America. In his pursuit of sensation and carnal thrills, Dorian’s desires turn increasingly extreme and he leaves behind yet more devastation and death. He ultimately settles in present-day New Orleans, joining with a group of like-minded beings known as The Night People. They inadvertently return to Dorian his humanity when he falls in love with a young woman he rescues from becoming their victim. She will be his redemption, but she will also be his final curse.

 

Review:  When a 19th century piece of literature gets an addendum, it opens a completely different set of possibilities. Author Mitzi Szereto takes Oscar Wilde’s memorable character, Dorian Gray, and continues the story.

I appreciated the note from the author at the beginning of the story to explain the purpose. Rather than a rewrite of the original, it is a continuation…with a 21st century breath of air.

Although I am not convinced that this version of Dorian Gray is quite what Oscar Wilde would have depicted, the author did capture the essence of the character. The end result makes me wonder what the original story would have been like if it had been written today.

The most significant aspect of this story is the development of Dorian Gray’s sexual escapades. While the original story may have hinted at Gray’s personality and sexual preferences, the new version develops it fully and with explicit detail. I can applaud the author’s skills at tackling such a challenging character, but like many of the classics, some things are better left to the imagination.

 

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