'SELF'S BLOSSOM': FULL SYNOPSIS
David Russell's romantic, erotic novel is a vivid portrayal of the quest for
inner truth, empowerment and sexual liberation of Selene, a woman searching
for primeval abandon and reckless adventure. It contains many flashbacks
from the heroine's past life.
Selene is intelligent, a university graduate and a successful careerist.
Emotionally, she has been scarred by unhappy relationships. Part of the
unhappiness has been caused by her very sensitivity, and her unwillingness
to make materially beneficial 'career moves' in terms of relationships. She
has been riled and taunted through the years by her former college room-mate
Janice - a cynic and a materialist who always seems to 'land on her feet' -
including being able to have gratifying casual affairs when she needs them.
Selene develops a long-term desire to 'get one back' at Janice by having a
passionate holiday encounter. (There are some similarities with the plot of
When Selene arrives in the Central American holiday Paradise, she is
immediately drawn to the sea. After making love to the brutal, sensual
waves, she feels the first deep stirrings of her passionate soul. She
seduces a young boy on another deserted beach. Once she meets the mature and
powerful Hudson, Selene finally begins to claim her sensual destiny. This is
a slow process, accentuated by Selene's shyness, introspection and
circumspection. There is a long and elaborate interplay of leading on and
rejection. The volcanic passion builds until there is a blazing row, a
possible drowning, and at last, the final ritual undressing leads to the
ultimate flowering of Selene'senraptured Self, and then Selene, liberated
and independent, rejecting Hudson.
There is much emphasis on the workings of Selene's mind, and portrayal of
the factors which have oppressed her. The novel contains social
observations, and being set in a Third World country, some political ones.
DAVID RUSSELL - THE MASTER OF UNDRESS
The green leather of the seat of the taxi in which she arrived was a double
bolster, pliant and resilient, yielding under her weight, but still
sustaining her. She could not tell whether it had down or foam rubber
inside. The airport precinct gave her clouded brain a full illusion of mist
on a clear day.
Real human forms scurrying in transit to and from pinpoints on the globe,
failed to rivet her attention. The images, which presided over her
half-dream, shone strong and clear, polished and yet shallow. She could see
the beach with its near-orange sand, her body tanned to match his golden
brown, both bodies arched for the last second before her hand untied the
waistband of his glistening trunks. He reached to edge her costume down over
her breasts . . . such a dream need not exclude depth and seriousness.
The aircraft's cabin had shrouded her like a magnified bed, its sensory
associations filing past her, a meandering column. . . The aircraft took
off, coming to life, as she would take off in heart.
The imaginary mist, which she had conjured up for her own dramatic effect at
Heathrow, stayed with her throughout the flight. It was thinned out a bit by
the landing, customs, and passport control. So now she had a souvenir stamp
of an exotic country on her passport. The first one she'd had since she
renewed it. Then back she went to the taxi where her vanity was deepened by
that gorgeous upholstery. The cab driver wore a navy blue uniform that was
quite tasteful - dazzlingly incongruous with those of the hotel staff, who
wore blancmange pink with dark blue braid. Their uniforms were the only
grotesque element in a setting of excellent taste, blending sandstone,
granite, marble, teak, mahogany, porcelain, feathery shrubs, palms, ponds,
and ornamental birds. But driver and staff alike illuminated their
contrasting uniforms from within. They had probably won them in the face of
keen competition, and it was with them that they would flaunt their own
defiance of poverty; whatever degree of servility was obligatory beneath its
For right now, Selene put all that complex business at a distance. Here, she
was on a beach, pure and simple. Now the sea breathed heavily, whispering
and murmuring to her. It was returning her stare, speaking to her. It was
the spirit of love, beckoning her with a pulsing, sinewy body. In all its
lines, shades, and fleeting forms, Selene saw the essence of pure beauty,
all grace of form, flesh, limb and feature. It was in one all the lovers of
whom she could possibly dream, conflated into one elemental ideal. He, pure
love in soul, bade her enter his domain, and make it hers. His arms moved
her hands to unclasp, unbutton, and unzip . . . the blossom emerged. The sun
became the eye of all that was not earth, and Selene loved fully, though the
pallor of her skin left her momentarily abashed.
At first she lay in the tide's path, the top of her head at its most extreme
mark. The sand bank a soft bed. The sea lover smoothly caressed her calves,
thighs, hips, breasts, shoulders, and cheeks before retreating for a pause
to his mossy pinnacles. Three times this action was repeated, then Selene
stood up and waded in, her arms outstretched. Her arms were linked as she
stood up to her neck in the saline flow, the balls and heels of her feet
wobbling, slithering on the moss. With the next wave, she lost her balance
–her breath prepared in unison with the hissing around her. She threw her
head back, once again horizontal, and launched into a backstroke, sweeping
and circling. She parted her legs wide with each thrust of motion, each
sweep of self-propulsion pushing out to answer the cavernous currents of his
passion. Seven circles gave her a delicious, warm bliss – then the sea
lover, well pleased, carried her back to a near-dry bed. Aching and
contented, Selene dozed a while.
That could have been everything happening at once, the essence of it all. In
its light, anything subsequent to it, confined to human form, might pale
ever after into insignificance, but maybe not. After all, elements were not
evolved to the level of flesh and their spirit seemed hollow across that
gap. But things would go on, for tides look linear . . . earthquakes, tidal
waves, volcanoes – all were on the cards here. Though most of the scars of
recent damage had healed for Selene, here their throbbing was numbed.
She jotted down a few impressions in her notebook. Through the years, she
had put a lot into words. At first they had emerged clogged, and then were
coagulated into dry seminars. Then they found their tunnels, growing limpid
and live, making a three-cornered, ding-dong battle. Words that caught
unguarded, un-thought emotions unawares; thoughts, double-knocked, giving
form and point to shapeless passion, until she sheer power of concussion
would project the ball upwards and downwards to the depths of desire. Selene
had never wanted to write anything out of her system, but rather to work
into it, to engender new experiences. The experiences, perhaps, could best
be celebrated in a vacuum, in silence, unless dialogue was opened in true
Selene was a honed journalist. She could skim surfaces, always edging round
the thin ice. She had been doing that for years, and had grown brittle in
the process. But now she must cut deeper, at the risk of freezing immersion,
in one direction or its contrary, knowing that the two contraries could
ultimately be one – each other's mirrors. If one alternative was made
material, the other would be all the more firmly secured in the realm of
dream. But if she attempted to do the total two-in-one, then her system
would be unseamed – and she fancied neither suicide nor accidents.
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