Smoke and Mirrors, written by Zander Vyne and first published by Erotiqué Press, is a short story in the great tradition of the golden era of erotic writing: the era of Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller. It is a piece that is at the same time pastiche and homage.
Smoke and Mirrors is a story of passionate self-deception and nostalgia for something that never was. Christian, a young student in New York, meets and is pulled like a satellite into the gravitational field of the older and very eccentric Monique. In a small apartment on the lower West Side, the mysterious and sexually insatiable Monique has fabricated the myth of a Montmartre garret with Gauloises cigarettes and Edith Piaf records. She pulls him into her nostalgic bower, regardless of the fact that the original has never existed. Christian eagerly plays the American in Paris to Monique’s Irma La Douce. He is utterly transfixed by her body, her hungers, her accent and her menagerie of manufactured memories.
This is a story about perfect sexual love and how, although never real, it is no less alluring or arousing for being a mirage. The memory of his time with Monique is perfect precisely because it is not reality. She has left him a gift that few women are willing to give: the remembrance of a flawless love.
Vyne’s artful use of imagery and careful language are what pulls the reader, like Christian, so quickly and completely into Monique’s Parisian fantasy. Smoke and Mirrors is a story within a story within a story, and Vyne gives the reader enough credit to ask the question of how aware each character is of the fictionality of what they are creating together in the act of playing out this fantastical love. ~ Remittance Girl
Reading this review now (it was first published in 2009 on Remittance Girl’s website), I’m still as thrilled as I would be if Stephen King or my new favorite writer, Hugh Howey, wrote a review on one of my stories. I have a bit of a crush on Remittance Girl, and count myself as one of her first, and most rabid fans. If you haven’t read her work, you’re really missing something special; she writes real erotica that manages to be literary, thought-provoking and sexy all at the same time.