Band Aid Broken Leg Doctor Borders
`Be careful of what you wish for' thunders across the pages of this newly translated classic originally written by the Austrian Leopold von Sacher-Masoch and first published in 1870. A refreshingly vivid prose has been rendered by erotica artist Sardax, who has also created ten unique illustrations that capture the passion and torment of the storyline of one man's near-fatal surrender to a woman.
The main character is Severin von Kusiemski, a man obsessed with the depiction of the Roman Goddess Venus dressed in furs as painted by Titian in his `Venus with a mirror'. He transplants his fevered vision of such a divinity onto a real woman, Wanda von Dunajew, who he gradually seduces into dominating him as a real slave. However, the seduction is not without problems as Severin constantly wrestles with his desire to surrender to the whims of his Mistress while she repeatedly has second thoughts about enslaving him. Wanda genuinely loves Severin and indulges his passions to make him happy although she has to be prodded ever so often to live up to being Severin's Venus. But as they both settle into their new roles of slave and Mistress, Wanda needs less convincing.
The metamorphosis from Wanda to Venus takes Severin on an unexpected journey to a strange land and a stranger role of him literally becoming a servant of her's and to be called Gregor. At this point, a clear slippery slope towards disaster awaits him especially when Wanda muses about taking on a new lover. It's agonizing to read Wanda's depiction of such rivalry through the brutal view of a sought-after lioness: "When the lion who chose her - the one with whom she lives - is attacked by another, the lioness lies low and watches the fight and if her mate is getting the worst of it, she does not help him. She watches him indifferently end his life under the claws of the opponent and follows the stronger victor. That is the nature of the female." Beyond the raw reality of a lion pride, it's only a matter of time before Severin's own pride is challenged beyond all expectation.
There is much to enthrall the reader in this new version that has been laboured over for the past ten years by Sardax. Aside from a distinctly modern feel to his translation as compared to the original text, his exquisitely detailed drawings of key story scenes are a welcome bonus. They could in fact stand alone as a worthy story in their own right, without caption, and be just as riveting, if not more, than any Titian masterpiece. For his countless fans around the world that are transported to dark delights via his art, Sardax has delivered us a fascinating and most welcomed new presentation of a timeless classic.