Excerpt from Inamorata by Joseph Gangemi, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Inamorata

By Joseph Gangemi

Inamorata
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Jan 2004,
    319 pages.
    Paperback: Mar 2005,
    336 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


I sighed, shifted my eyes to my reluctant assistant. "I suppose we should start by you telling me your name."

"Veda." Defiant.

"All right, Veda," I began, "I'd like you to take a few deep breaths to relax.... Go ahead ... yes, that's right.... And when you feel you are ready, begin to focus your attention on this watch...." And I set the watch swinging like a pendulum, back and forth, back and forth, before Veda's highly skeptical expression.

She resisted at first, then began to follow its motion with her blue eyes. I worried she was too intoxicated to muster the requisite concentration—for it takes significant mental discipline to narrow the aperture of awareness, to still the incessant babbling of mind—but her animosity toward me seemed to have had a sobering effect, and after a moment her eyelids became heavy. Her descent into a trance state required little of me beyond the occasional encouraging word, though for our audience's sake, I made a great show of glowering menacingly and looking Mephistophelian—at least insofar as this is possible when one is twenty-three and shaves only every other day. At last Halliday's girl arrived at that place of equipoise between alertness and relaxation, and I knew that her inhibitions had reached their point of lowest ebb.

Unfortunately, I wasn't the only one who knew it.

"Witness, ladies and gentlemen," Halliday said, "the power men wield over the impressionable female mind!"

There were jeers from the crowd. Someone let out a piercing wolf whistle. I shot the whistler a sharp look and motioned for silence. Halliday's girl stood swaying like tapering smoke from an extinguished candle. She smiled, as if she were having a pleasant dream. Time to test her openness to suggestion.

"Can you still hear me, Veda?"

"Mmmmmm."

She drew out the syllable as if I'd fed her something sweet. The hairs along my arms stood up. I was frightened; also, I confess, not a little aroused. I fought the impulse to bring her out of it immediately, forced my brain to become a motion-picture camera recording the details of her own arousal: how her lips had swollen imperceptibly beyond their lipsticked borders, the gooseflesh giving pattern to her slender arms, the way her nostrils flared with each delicious breath. A shiver ran through her as if she'd felt a draft, and from my privileged vantage it became obvious she wasn't wearing a bust flattener beneath her silk dress.

Halliday appeared at my elbow. "Remarkable," he whispered, eyes traveling up and down the length of her. "You know, it strikes me that our Veda here would make an absolutely smashing Salomé—"

"Forget it."

"You're right, we can do better," he said ruminatively. "Something truly memorable ... something she wouldn't dream of doing awake—"

"It doesn't work that way."

"What doesn't?"

"Hypnotic suggestion," I said. "I can't force her to do anything she doesn't want to."

"Because it's forbidden by the mesmerists' Code of Honor?"

"More like the mechanics of the human unconscious."

I watched Halliday stew on this with a sour expression. Like so many in those days, he had fallen in thrall to the behaviorists, pigeon trainers like J. B. Watson who dismissed human consciousness as a side effect of over stimulated nerves, and therefore unworthy of study. Halliday knew that when it came to the subject of the unconscious, he was woefully ill informed. I could see him weighing whether or not I was telling the truth. In fact I was. Contrary to popular belief, it's all but impossible to force a hypnotized subject to do something against her will—though I hadn't arrived at this understanding via any deep reading of Freud. Rather, I'd come by it as did most self-taught Svengalis: through trial and error, and a mail-order pamphlet titled Hypnosis Explained!

Copyright Joseph Gangemi 2004. All rights reserved. No part of this book maybe reproduced without written permission from the publisher, Viking Publishing.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"


    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...
  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  129Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.