Lisabet Sarai doesn't even like candy—"I have an anti-sweet-tooth," she's said. "I could live for months without ever craving dessert." And yet she bravely put aside her distaste for the sweet and gooey in order to review Sex & Candy. Even with her preference for fruit over cupcakes, she managed to find stories to whet her appetite in the delicious confection Sex & Candy:
Shanna Germain’s “Kneading” left me in wet, astonished awe. It is lyrical and tough, intense and original, featuring characters so far from the stereotypes that I guarantee you, too, will be amazed. The editors showed great wisdom in using a quote from this tale as the introductory blurb for the collection.
“At home, I don’t let her touch me. There is only this: my fingers tangled in her thin apron strings, cascade of cotton and flour against the floor, Macy’s dark arms iced with sugars and spice. My recipe is simple: Macy and me, hands and skin, kneading and heat. ‘The best recipes just taste complicated.’ This is something I plan to teach her.”
Equally fine, in a different way, is Donna George Storey’s “Six Layers of Sweetness.” The tale is as carefully constructed as the dessert in its title. Sharp, spicy layers of physical desire alternate with more subtle emotional flavors. Ms. Storey is an expert chef, and it shows.
A few other stories in the book have bent over pages, meaning that I felt they were worth mentioning. “Cling,” by Tenille Brown, is the delightfully tongue-in-cheek tale of a mature woman who can’t quite bring herself to give up her lover even though she knows he’s not “marriage material.” I enjoyed Bianca James “Green Chile Chocolate” largely because her “Chile man” so completely matched my image of male sexiness. R.Gay’s “Other Girls” is a carny romance, shot through with the wistfulness of a man who’s always just passing through. And Catherine Lundoff’s “Phone, Sex, Chocolate” offers a sticky, poignant look at a hopeless lesbian fantasy: