This beautifully written and provocatively-titled novella follows a lonely commitment-phobe who, on his 90th birthday, wants a night of mad passion with an adolescent virgin. But instead of the usual heartless, physical sex he has had 514 times in his life, he finally finds real love in the form a young hooker in the midst of a deep sleep.
"I was ignorant of the arts of seduction and had always chosen my brides for a night at random, more for their price than their charms, and we had made love without love, half-dressed most of the time and always in the dark so we could imagine ourselves as better than we were. That night I discovered the improbably pleasure of contemplating the body of a sleeping woman without the urgencies of desire or the obstacles of modesty."At first glance, this story could easily be seen just as the tale of a dirty old man infatuated with a little girl, but I was taken by the deeper exploration of the emotional and physical effects of aging, the celebration of the innocent and pure, and a man finding love so late in the game and finally being rejuvenated at the terminus of his years. This book would make an interesting companion piece with Walter Mosley's [b:The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey|11012820|The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey|Walter Mosley|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348357930s/11012820.jpg|11572023], with which it shares similar themes.
"“Blood circulated through her veins with the fluidity of a song that branched off into the most hidden areas of her body and returned to her heart, purified by love. Before I left at dawn I drew the lines of her hand on a piece of paper and gave it to Diva Sahibí for a reading so I could know her soul.”"