My rating: 4 of 5 stars
One caveat: I never read The Picture of Dorian Gray. I knew the basic plot, perhaps because I did a unit on Oscar Wilde in middle school and read one of his shorter works - I don't remember exactly. Before I started reading this book, I thought it was going to be a mash-up of the original with some of Szereto's original thoughts added in, like her Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts. At first I was a little disappointed, since I really enjoyed that Austen parody. However, as I read on, I was glad to discover it was a wholly original tale crafted from the "what if" of Dorian becoming an immortal - or at least very long-lived - being.
Because I didn't read the original, I don't know how true Szereto wrote Dorian Gray to the way Wilde wrote the character, but that didn't matter as I read this. Szereto's Gray gets into some very imaginative scenarios, starting with a run-in with some very famous expatriate American writers in Paris. This chapter is fun. The tale becomes quick a bit darker in the next setting, and the darkness continues as Gray spirals downward into total depravity.
Dorian is a bastard, but it's a fantastically well-told story. Still, even Dorian Gray has some hope for redemption, and the ending of this novel is very fitting.
In the past I've enjoyed Szereto's signature blend of erotica and humor, so this novel is a definite change of pace from what I'm used to from this author. I like it. It confirms once and for all that Szereto is a well-rounded and talented novelist.
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Click here to listen to an audio interview with Szereto about this book.
About Szereto's Other Books on This Blog:
Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts - interview with Mitzi Szereto
In Sleeping Beauty's Bed - book review
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book, unsolicited, from the publisher. I was offered no other compensation for this review, which represents my own honest opinion.