Her narrative is spare and stark, written in a present tense that perfectly conveys how her experience happened ''out of time as well as out of place.'' ''We meet at airports,'' she begins, plunging the reader straight into the hell of the incestuous affair. ''We meet in cities where we've never been before. We meet where no one will recognize us. . . . these nowheres and notimes are the only home we have.''"The Kiss" — makes a great Christmas gift for Dad.
Then she goes back to the start of her experience, when she first meets her estranged father as an adult. ''My father looks at me, then, as no one has ever looked at me before.'' Having not seen her since 10 years earlier, when she was 10, he is enthralled by her resemblance to him. When she drives him to the airport, he kisses her goodbye and ''pushes his tongue deep into my mouth: wet, insistent, exploring, then withdrawn.''
She writes: ''In years to come, I'll think of the kiss as a kind of transforming sting, like that of a scorpion: a narcotic that spreads from my mouth to my brain. The kiss is the point at which I begin, slowly, inexorably, to fall asleep, to surrender volition, to become paralyzed. It's the drug my father administers in order that he might consume me. That I might desire to be consumed.''
December 11, 2010
With the arrest of Professor David Epstein for incest, let's revisit the praise for the 1997 father-daughter incest memoir "The Kiss."
I've already started the conversation here about David Epstein. (I show you that Justice Scalia has explained the law on the subject: A father has a constitutional right to have sexual intercourse with his adult, consenting daughter.) I know most of the commentary around the web amounts to little more than ugh. (Come on, people. Hasn't the Supreme Court taught you by now that your disgust is not a proper foundation for law?) Now, let's move this conversation forward. There was a time, it was during the Clinton administration, 1997, when a golden literary light shone on the subject of incest. There was a "beautifully written memoir" by Kathryn Harrison that everyone was talking about: