Mike Zabusky first sees Katherine Staresina at a party given by Mike's doctoral-thesis adviser, Matthew Weingarden. They are instantly drawn to each other--so instantly that they have a sexual collision against a bathroom wall less than two hours after they meet.
Mike immediately feels surer of his love for Katherine than of anything else in his life--his moribund thesis about the Golem (an artificial creature in Jewish folklore); Weingarden, who appears to simultaneously support and undermine Mike's studies; and his lonely, angry stock-trading father, soon to commit suicide and thus further entangle the emotional knot, first tied in childhood, that Mike must try to untie.
While Katherine begins a mystifying game of intimacy and rejection, Mike learns more about her troubled past and seems to lose ground with every effort to win her heart. Finally he comes face-to-face with his own Golem-like existence. Who is controlling him? What can he do to escape--and determine--his own fate? What is the truth behind his father's death?
Consent paints a poignant, surprising, and ultimately profound portrait of a young man facing the universal challenge of balancing passion with wisdom.
In the room I keep at the Gouverneur Hotel, at the bottom of the Lower East Side, in Straus Square, I've got dozens of handkerchiefs. The cotton ones have raised needlework, often in more than one color. Some have leaves in the corners, diamonds, or Hebrew words. One has elaborate curls, which I'm quite sure are sewn with golden thread. The silk ones are more elaborate, with patterns of orange flame, waves, quarter moons, or women's faces. I dry my tears with these handkerchiefs. I masturbate into them. I wipe the sweat from my forehead. And when my eyes grow red from heat or smoke, I press them lightly with a handkerchief to cool them.
I launder each handkerchief by hand. I won't let them fall further apart. I got them from my father years ago, when I was home for a holiday break from the University of Chicago and he happened to be moving out of the apartment he shared with my mother on the corner of Rutherford Place and Seventeenth Street, where I...
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