Of course I'm indebted (as we all are) to Anne Desclos (aka Dominique Aury) for having penned The Story of O and thereby updated and licensed sadomasochistic literature to those whose circumstances in some measure mirror those of the story's protagonists. I'm even more sympathetic to Jean De Berg's (aka Catherine Robbe-Grillet) L'Image for much the same reason. Anne Rice's Beauty trilogy is entertaining and affirming in ways that only an A-list writer can confer (should such support be needed), but the series wants for ground I might conceivably walk. The lesser-knowns are those with whom, if I'm to find it at all, I end up feeling a real resonance.
Most recently I've been impressed by Stephen Elliott's My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up, a collection of his compact and utterly believable exploits wherein redemption from a convention-addled base comes by way of elective suffering. It's not BDSM as therapy (thankfully), it's about better living through adoption of precisely the "wrong" solutions.
In a similar vein I am most recently enchanted by a short story I'd had the good fortune to read in its earliest draft and now finally see published on sliptongue.com. Asking For It is a fabulously fresh and brutally authentic piece; precisely the sort that resonates well with an intelligent audience, so much so that its author is favored to toil long in obscurity, banished to the ghetto of excellence along with all prophets speaking truth in their own lands and in their own times. As my friend Mark Yu quotes of Paul Gauguin:
"There is always a heavy demand for fresh mediocrity. In every generation the least cultivated taste has the largest appetite."The best artists of all eras know that it is scarcely a dishonorable estate to go largely unremarked among the hoi polloi, and that good works greet only those who are attentive to the compensations of life. I happen to know that the author of Asking For It has rather a large body of work that she is just now slowly letting out to an audience. Her blog is listed here in the "Genius" sidebar where you will find other of her vigorous observations. Only but a few are as yet posted, but patience is said to be a virtue for good reason.