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Book review: 'Chastened: The Unexpected Story of My Year Without Sex' by Hephzibah Anderson

Manhattan proves to be much like London, only with more glitz and a lot more money, and Hephzibah lives it large and makes loads of sophisticated friends with whom she routinely shares cosmopolitans in cocktail bars and at press launches and other glittering events. It's in Manhattan that she wakes up to the unbelievable truth that "for many women Her year up, Anderson breaks her fast with some unsatisfactory shagging in the Hamptons. But what, as Mrs Merton might say, does she see in the much older, millionaire "Mr Date"?

And why do none of her sophisticated pals offer an answer to the age-old question: Or spoken to a man, for that matter? All of which proves there is a point to this otherwise meaningless experiment and it is this: Her appetite for these asides seems to stem from boredom with the her premise, which soon warps from resisting men to teasing accounts of men forced to resist her. Lovers led on then let down are spared complete humiliation through use of pseudonyms and nicknames such as "the Beau," "Mr.

The only man afforded some semblance of personality is a translator named Jake, and it is her obsession with Jake that provides the slimmest of through-lines to Anderson's jumbled recollections. Jake also figures in her best erotic writing.

Chastened: The Unexpected Story of My Year without Sex by Hephzibah Anderson

Halfway through her sexless year, Anderson commingles Jake with Pasha, writing longingly of "Jake's smile and Pasha's hands — those same hands that I've seen spoon foie gras on toast and caress my nipple. By March, she's so routinely tussling naked with men, mainly Jake, that after being pinned to a wall and felt up she will only say, "What follows is the hottest, most X-rated nonsex I've ever had.

Anderson tells us that during her twenties she was a book critic capable of reviewing novels in a year. What makes this book so frustrating is that she learned so little about what it takes to move a story forward. Unburdened by narrative, she can form nice sentences conveying sharp thought.


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  • Book review: Chastened: No More Sex in the City, by Hephzibah Anderson.
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Witness the logic applied as she weights the advantages of chastity: Those homesick for Blighty will find vivid descriptions of British weather oh, such rain! But it takes a good storm to divert Anderson's attention from herself. If only that were true. As she resumes sex at the conclusion of the book, it's still all about her, and it's still loveless. Green writes the Dry Garden column for The Times.

She is completing a book on water in the Great Basin Desert.

Her website is http: Seizure Led to FloJo's Death.