Anonymous Sex Edited by Hillary Jordan and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

Anonymous Sex Book Cover Anonymous Sex
HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction, The Borough Press
February 03, 2022

27 Authors. 27 Stories. No Names Attached.

A bold collection of stories about sex that leaves you guessing who wrote what.

Bestselling novelists Hillary Jordan and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan present an elegant, international anthology of erotica that explores the diverse spectrum of desire, written by winners of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, PEN Awards, the Women’s Prize for Fiction, Edgar Award, and more. There are stories of sexual obsession and sexual love, of domination and submission. There’s revenge sex, unrequited sex, funny sex, tortured sex, fairy tale sex, and even sex in the afterlife.

While the authors are listed in alphabetical order at the beginning of the book, none of the stories are attributed, providing readers with a glimpse into an uninhibited landscape of sexuality as explored by twenty-seven of today’s finest authors.

Featuring Robert Olen Butler, Catherine Chung, Trent Dalton, Heidi W. Durrow, Tony Eprile, Louise Erdrich, Jamie Ford, Julia Glass, Peter Godwin, Hillary Jordan, Rebecca Makkai, Valerie Martin, Dina Nayeri, Chigozie Obioma, Téa Obreht, Helen Oyeyemi, Mary-Louise Parker, Victoria Redel, Jason Reynolds, S.J. Rozan, Meredith Talusan, Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, Souvankham Thammavongsa, Jeet Thayil, Paul Theroux, Luis Alberto Urrea, and Edmund White.

Anonymous Sex Edited by Hillary Jordan and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

I really did like the concept of Anonymous Sex. Known authors get to write short stories about sex anonymously. I’d heard of, or read, a handful of the authors involved and felt this might make an interesting change of reading. I see that the blurb says that there are 27 stories. My copy is a pre publication one but I appear to have read 31.

These stories do cover a fairly wide range of encounters. Maybe worth noting that most of them are heterosexual though. Some are short, some are long. Some I got and some I simply didn’t. Probably unsurprisingly for this sort of anthology there were ones that I really liked and worked for me. Equally there were quite a few that were far more ordinary.

I’d prefer people to discover these for themselves however I will comment on three of these. I really liked “Rapunzel”. This is definitely not a story for children however I found it very entertaining and well written. It’s a reworking of the fairy tale and I thought it was very creative. For something erotic (and not that many were for me) then “Vis a vis 1953” was very good indeed.

Ultimately there was one story that was simply so well written and powerful that it blew me away. It was “The Memory of Hands”. It was tender, felt very real and simply a very good read. I’ve not really read anything quite like that or that good in a fair while. While I do like the idea of anonymous authors here the snag is that I have no idea who wrote my favourites stories so I can’t try more of their work. In a sense that is a pity (for them and me).

Those three stories have stayed with me despite the fact that I finished Anonymous Sex a month or so ago at the time or writing this. Looking through my notes there were a few others that resonated with me to some degree. However the remainder didn’t do a lot for me. Despite this I would still suggest this is well worth a try if the general idea appeals to you. I don’t know what you might find in these that work for you but I’ll bet some of then do.

Note – I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review