elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Variety, the Spice of Life by Mykola Dementiuk

Mykola Dementiuk’s fictional world is very much related to his own experience made of movie theatres and almost abandooned apartments in the lower East Side of a ’70 New York, a city that doesn’t exist no more.

More than once his main character has no name and is a young man experiencing his first time far from the safe shelter of the suburban life: in this case the young man was living not far from the lower East Side, in the Queens. When the man’s mother dies leaving him with a nice annuity and the possibility to realize his small dreams, he decides to move to Manhattan. He has a white collar job in the City and leaving in the East Side he is nearer to the Times Square’s theatres he likes to frequent during the weekend. He has not much experience as homosexual, but he is not against the idea to make more, but in his naivite he exchanges lust for love.

At first I thought the love story he was leaving was nice and sweet, but indead knowing Mykola Dementiuk’s stories, it was not a chance. The young man our hero meets in a bookstore reading Catcher in the Rye (and for that reason he will become Catcher), is not the sweet young man he appears. Few days later the main character meets him again, only this time he is dressed as a young woman and it’s clear that she is whoring herself. This is not a reason for the hero to avoid her, on the contrary, he is even more fascinated by the perspective of having a woman and a man in the same body, in a way it allows to him to not think at himself as homosexual, or at least not entirely.

But Catcher has not interest in a love story, she is too much lost in her own quest towards hell, and instead of finding in the hero a reason to love, she brings him down in her world: the hero becomes Missy, not as pretty as Catcher, but with her own admirers. One of these men will give Missy her first real experience with sex, but that is not what she will consider important. Other than allowing her to discover a world she didn’t know existed, Catcher introduces Missy to Sheila, an Afro-american transgender woman (I think from woman to man, but I’m not entirely sure…) who will be Missy’s first experience in giving and receiving pleasure.

I’m not sure if we can consider Missy’s evolution from young man to young woman an happily ever after story, as I’m not sure that this is indead Missy’s final stop; I think she has still a lot to learn and probably Sheila is not her definitive lover. Sure Missy is more man than woman, and so maybe Sheila is a good choice for her right now, but Missy is only 26 years old, and those are the ’70… we well not that in 10 years or so the world will change for people like her, and she will need to change again as well. The world that Missy is wandering now is on a timeline and she cannot build her home inside it. It’s for sure with nostalgia that the author tells the reader about it, even if dirty, shady and dangerous, in a way that world was probably more genuine, and men like Missy had more chance to openly live then that maybe now.


Amazon Kindle: Variety, the Spice of Life

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Tags: author: mykola dementiuk, genre: historical, length: novel, review

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