intense sensations

Vintage Paranormal BDSM

Posted on: September 7, 2011

Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee (Dee Goong An) (Detective Stories)Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee (Dee Goong An) by Robert Hans van Gulik
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

At the heart of this book is a story that involves a lot of bondage, torture, beating, sexual passion, near-nudity and paranormal phenomena.

Yes, as with so many things, the Chinese did paranormal BDSM centuries before the current craze sweeping America.

But, ironically, in this book the paranormal element is somewhat muted, which is the main reason Robert van Gulik thought it might be presentable in translation to Western readers.

I try to learn something practical from every book I read. The thing I learnt from this one is that it’s very hard to translate the Chinese word “neiyi” (undergarment), because it’s very unspecific even in Chinese.

When the suspect is stripped of all her clothes and left in only an “undergarment”, which happens on at least two separate occasions, I really want to know more. Which undergarment? Is it like a shift or is it only a pair of panties? Is it skimpy or conservative? Can you see through it?

Most readers would not want to picture the poor wretch strapped nearly naked to a mechanical device so that she can be beaten and racked. But I’m an erotic novelist. My interest is professional and dispassionate.

The end of the novel, which deals with the executions of all the wrongdoers, is much more explicit. But it’s a case of too little too late. Because of the earlier omissions, I’m afraid the text only gets 3 stars from me.

Vanessa Wu is the author of Love Has No Limits

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