I’m becoming selective in what I review, mostly because I’ve becoming more selective in what I read. I’m in the lucky position of having a lot on my professional plate, so time is precious and I want to spend it well. Reading M, Jacob Louder’s new novella from Go Deeper Press, was a magnificent way to spend time.
Jacob Louder appeared on the scene last year with First, a novella that did in 60 pages what many novels fail to do in 600, (click HERE to read my review). It was one of the strongest, most impressive debuts I’ve ever seen – the perfect introduction to Nico Ericsson, Louder’s complicated, hedonistic and relentlessly likeable protagonist.
Normally, I’d have wondered about a sophomore slump with a writer who knocks it out of the park his first time at bat, but I’ve gotten to know Jacob’s work in the past year, and it is, without exception, stellar. His piece in Go Deeper Press’s Dirty Little Numbers was a standout, and I recently had the honor sharing pages with him in Oleander Plume‘s break-out anthology, Chemical (se)X, in which his story, “Thursday Threesome / Birthday Foursome,” practically bounds off the page with gorgeously depraved, sexy joy. Because of this, I knew his follow up to First would be special – I just didn’t realized how special it would be.
Nico Ericsson returns in M, a bit older, more experienced and with a firmer sense of himself. But he is also, still, the Nico from First – charming, savvy and voraciously sexual, with a level of awareness and perspective that makes him fascinating to read. He is no longer a high school boy, experiencing firsts and testing his own boundaries. He’s a French major in college with an enviable circle of friends, lovers and sexual partners, and a beautiful girlfriend named Miranda, whom he calls M. Having read First, I was massively gratified when I realized exactly who M was, but even if you haven’t read it, Louder’s treatment of her, and her relationship with Nico, will resonate because it is so intensely real.
That’s the thing about Jacob Louder’s writing. His characters aren’t icons, ideals or stereotypes. They don’t function to carry a message. In fact, if anything, his writing is anti-didactic, and therein lies it’s power. His characters are human to a degree that almost broke my heart at times. With little to no exposition, he paints portraits of people with fluid sexualities, complicated needs and intensely personal relationships to monogamy, sex and their own sexual and gender identities, all while leaving the reader space to relate on his or her terms.
And then there’s the sex. Fucking hell, can Jacob Louder write sex. I’ve been around the block more than a few times, but reading M is like a master class in sexual self-possession. There’s cam sex, good natured blow jobs and rooftop wankings with his roommate and friends, creatively hot run-ins with exes and semi-random girls, and, of course, there sex with M. It’s in those scenes that Louder especially shines. Using nothing but sexual response and dialog, he gives us stunning insight into Nico, Miranda and their relationship.
I’ve said this about Jacob Louder before, but I’ll say it again. He writes literary pornography that is important. M and First are people porn at it’s most effective best, and I can’t recommend it enough. His dialog flies, the story moves and all the while, Nico and M and the rest of the players are getting under your skin, even as they turn you on.
M by Jacob Louder is what literary porn should be – relentlessly hot, with a well of humanity that makes the sex an intrinsic part of a driving, compelling narrative.Care to read an excerpt? Of course you do! There are some great ones over at Jacob Louder’s website, Tamsin Flowers’s Superotica Advent Calendar and Oleander Plume’s review at Poison Pen / Dirty Mind. Or even better, just buy M, (and read First if you haven’t). It’s available HERE.
And for more information about Jacob Louder, check out his blog or follow him on Twitter. I guarantee you’re going to like what you find.