||An erotic narrative focusing on the quadrilateral love affairs of two married couples. Cyril and Fiona meet Hugh and Catherine and, in the best fashion of the 1960s, the four agree to swap spouses. This works to everyone's satisfaction for a while, until it becomes apparent that the affairs have not worked out as casually as they were intended. Not only does Cyril become jealous of Hugh, he suspects that Fiona may have fallen in love. Both comic and disturbing, "Blood Oranges" provides an unusual perspective on modern notions of liberation.
||"Need I insist that the only enemy of the mature marriage is monogamy? That anything less than sexual multiplicity . . . is naive? That our sexual selves are merely idylers in a vast wood?" Thus the central theme of John Hawkes's widely acclaimed novel The Blood Oranges is boldly asserted by its narrator, Cyril, the archetypal multisexualist. Likening himself to a white bull on Love's tapestry, he pursues his romantic vision in a primitive Mediterranean landscape. There two couples?Cyril and Fiona, Hugh and Catherine?mingle their loves in an "lllyria" that brings to mind the equally timeless countryside of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.Yet no synopsis or comparison can convey the novel's lyric comedy or, indeed, its sinister power?sinister because of the strength of will Cyril exerts over his wife, his mistress, his wife's reluctant lover; lyric, since he is also a ?sex-singer" in the land where music is the food of love.