The Adventures of Holly White and the Incredible Sex Machine by Krissy Kneen
Krissy Kneen, at the beginning of her book, The Adventures of Holly White and the Incredible Sex Machine, has us watching Brisbane rich girl, Holly, concealed in darkness, spying on two strangers hooking up in a swimming pool. Unlike other girls, Holly emits a shining blue ectoplasm when aroused, a glowing bright gel between her legs. She knows she’s different. She retreats from the scene into the arms of her jock boyfriend, who respects the ring she and her friends wear, inscribed with the vow of chastity: true love waits.
But Holly’s sexuality can’t be suppressed. This desire – insatiable, tangible, an increasingly potent magma substance – transfers into both Holly’s lust for literature, and to the reader’s own delight. At university, Holly is invited to an underground book club, from which she emerges utterly changed, her first true sexual experience dismantling her as Brisbane’s chaste surface is upended and undressed before her eyes. Armed with a bag of classic erotic texts – Anaïs Nin, de Sade, Salter, Nabokov – she sets out on a quest to Paris, the city of love,to make love and to unlock the true potential of her blue energy.
Kneen’s writing glories in its voyeurism; we watch, as Holly first watched, the unfolding scenes of heat, skin and liquid. Holly’s virginity navigates the text and this perspective, this plucked newness, extends to all her first experiences: of sex, Paris, love, and literature. In mapping out Holly’s sex machine, Kneen has also mapped out a vivid heroine’s journey: a very sexy sci-fi–erotica hybrid with an inspired, Cronenbergian premise.
Jemima Bucknell is our Online Fulfilment Manager.