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 by Joseph Gangemi X
Inamorata by Joseph Gangemi
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2004, 319 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2005, 336 pages

    Genres

  • 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" articles
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: All of Us Villains
    All of Us Villains
    by Amanda Foody, Christine Herman
    All of Us Villains, the first release of a young adult dark fantasy series by Christine Lynn Herman ...
  • Book Jacket: Yonder
    Yonder
    by Jabari Asim
    The captivating historical novel Yonder turns an intimate lens towards the tragedy and survivorship ...
  • Book Jacket: Churchill's Shadow
    Churchill's Shadow
    by Geoffrey Wheatcroft
    Another book about Winston Churchill? Even with the astronomical number of titles written about the ...
  • Book Jacket: 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows
    1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows
    by Ai Weiwei
    Ai Weiwei is such an influential and innovative artist and activist that a memoir focused purely on ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
My Broken Language
by Quiara Alegría Hudes
A Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright tells her lyrical coming of age story in a sprawling Puerto Rican family.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Paris Bookseller
    by Kerri Maher

    How a humble bookseller fought incredible odds to bring one of the 20th century's most important books to the world.

  • Book Jacket

    Free
    by Lea Ypi

    "Nothing short of a masterpiece."
    Publishers Weekly

Who Said...

The moment we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold into a library, we've changed their lives ...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A P O B Y Houses

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

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

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.