Synopses & Reviews
Unrestrained by the ethics of his practice, a narcissistic psychoanalyst undertakes a series of licentious affairs with his patients as his method of treatment. Like the netsuke adorning his shelves, his patients become an addition to his cabinet of collectibles, and his life becomes consumed with juggling a roster of clients and sexual partners, all of whom must be concealed from his long-suffering artist wife. As the conflicted doctor has difficulty keeping his conquests to himself, he ultimately crumbles under the weight of his own warped eroticism and duplicity.
As with her portrait of the Marquis de Sade in The Fan-maker's Inquisition, Rikki Ducornet uses potent prose to tackle a controversial character in Netsuke. Fans of Chuck Palahniuk and Irvine Welsh will embrace Ducornet's depiction of a troubled and disturbing character and exploration of the dark corners of humanity.
"A novelist whose vocabulary sweats with a kind of lyrical heat." The New York Times
"Linguistically explosive....Ducornet is one of the most interesting American writers around." The Nation
"There is the time before you open Rikki Ducornet's Netsuke and then there is only the time in which you are reading — a searing present of heart-swallowing secrets, warped eroticism, betrayals, and insight trellised against the page in nightshade-gorgeous prose." Forrest Gander
"Judging by her new novel, [Ducornet] has not lost ground....Netsuke, a short novel that seethes with dark energy and sinister eroticism, still has power to shock, maybe even to appall....Our society is numb to explicit depictions of sexual acts. The perversity, decadence, even the depravity that Ducornet renders here feel explosively fresh because their sources are thought and emotion, not the body, and finally there's pathos too." Boston Globe
"When the very air of one's marriage grows thin and dim, there is nothing to do but set out to find a richer, brighter air, ponders the narrator of Port Townsend author Rikki Ducornet's brief, fervent novel Netsuke....Written in lyrical, sensuous prose, as if shrouded in a fog of humidity, Netsuke emerges as a character study of a man in crisis." The Seattle Times
"Rikki Ducornet has used the pursuit of pleasure and the quest for knowledge -- as well as the hazards of their suppression -- as subject matter in other books. In Netsuke, a finely crafted object of a novel, she looks at the dark side. The unnamed protagonist, a psychoanalyst, says: "I was not intended for delight. Delight was made to elude me." An early trauma is regularly hinted at but never precisely identified, the sort of deep wound he typically sees in his clients. 'I was once a little child who was turned into an imp so nasty he was made very small and put into a bottle.'" Mark Gustafson, Rain Taxi (Read the entire Rain Taxi review)
A descent into the abyss of one troubled psychoanalyst's practice.
Ruled by his hunger for erotic encounters, a deeply wounded psychoanalyst seduces both patients and strangers with equal heat. Driven to compartmentalize his life, the doctor attempts to order and contain his lovers as he does his collection of rare netsuke, the precious miniature sculptures gifted to him by his wife. This riveting exploration of one psychoanalyst's abuse of power unearths the startling introspection present within even the darkest heart.
About the Author
The author of eight novels as well as collections of short fiction, essays, and poetry, Rikki Ducornet has twice been honored by the Lannan Foundation. Her fourth novel The Jade Cabinet was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Fan-maker's Inquisition was named a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year, and the French translation of her novel Gazelle was honored with a Prix Guerlain. A visual artist who exhibits internationally, Ducornet makes her home in the Pacific Northwest.