BOOK REVIEW: SASKIA VOGEL – PERMISSION

Today, it’s a review about a brilliant book that I can’t wait to share. It’s the lyrical, beautiful, descriptive and mesmerising, Permission by Saskia Vogel, published by Dialogue books.

This book has caught my attention a lot over the past few months – especially with that striking, beautiful cover. And after reading the blurb, I was hooked. I ordered a copy straight away. So, what’s it about? Here’s the blurb:

When Echo’s father gets swept away by a freak current off the Los Angeles coast, she finds herself sinking into a complete state of paralysis. With no true friends and a troubled relationship with her mother, the failed young actress attempts to seek solace in the best way she knows: by losing herself in the lives of strangers. When by chance Echo meets a dominatrix called Orly, it finally feels like she might have found someone who will be nurturing and treasure her for who she is. But Orly’s fifty-something houseboy, Piggy, isn’t quite ready to let someone else share the intimate relationship he’s worked so hard to form with his mistress.

Permission is a love story about people who are sick with dreams and expectations and turn to the erotic for comfort and cure. As they stumble through the landscape of desire, they are in a desperate search for the answer to that sacred question: how do I want to be loved?

I really enjoyed this novel. It’s something different to what I’ve been reading recently. I’m finding it hard to review to be honest and finding the right words. For me, this is a very lyrical novel, it felt at times as if it was in isolation, focusing on these characters (especially Echo) and how she deals with her grief for her father. I think this could also be the setting of the book: the LA coast and it just felt very dream-like and nostalgic too. Vogel really is a brilliant writer: the way she created tension and mystery in the quiet moments, the way she created characters and described them, was just brilliant.

This is a refreshing read as I’ve not read anything with the themes that this book tackles – especially the whole dominatrix side of it all. This is an interesting plot, as it says in the blurb, how people ‘who are sick with dreams and expectations and turn to the erotic for comfort and cure.’ I found this really interesting and this can be seen in relation to a number of characters, especially Echo. I think Vogel has created a fantastic set of characters, especially with Echo. The story is mostly told in the first-person perspective with Echo and it’s a great exploration of grief and loss that I thought was explored beautifully.

Vogel is a remarkable writer. Her writing is lyrical, atmospheric, immersive, dream-like, painful and more. There were some passages that I was just in awe of her writing. For example:

The words became a chant. A chant became sound, sound rode the edge of silence and dropped into the waves. A blue drum, swirling silver bodies in the ocean, among which I was one, circling the light. And in this light I saw my father. In the light, we spoke.

This is a brilliant book and it’s honest, and Vogel gets under the skin of her characters and the themes of sex, sexuality, grief, love, loss, relationships and more. I loved the relationship between Echo and her mother and I would have liked to see more of that developed. Overall, Vogel shows us, and Echo, that desire, sexuality, who we are as individuals, are all connected in one way or another. I think this quote sums up the entire book:

We weren’t asking for a cure. We were finding ways to give ourselves the permission to be.

I’m so glad that I read this book and I’m looking forward to read the rest of what Dialogue Books have to offer. If you haven’t read this book, I think it’s a great book to read in the summer and when the sun is falling and there’s this dream-like state in the air. I can’t wait to see what Saskia Vogel creates next.

Have you read Permission? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you,

Corey.

 

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