A Matter of Perception is a fascinating collection of short stories by fantasy author Tahlia Newland. I received a free copy of this book for review.
While all of the stories in this collection are good, ‘Sacred Striptease’ is the one that really caught my eye.
‘Sacred Striptease’ takes us through an evening in the life of Lexie (Miss Electra), a stripper who works in a club frequented by mainly working class men stopping for a little entertainment before going home to their families. Told in the first person, the story shows the mental process of a woman who views what she does as art, not for titillation, but for entertainment. Lexie has a strong artistic connection and affection for the men who enjoy watching her perform, but is distressed by the presence of the Creep, a man who views her (in her view) not as a performer, but as a target for exploitation.
A profound treatment of subjects such as self-image, rape, and exploitation, this is a good short read that will entertain as much as Miss Electra’s artistic gyrations do. My only complaint is that the reader is never told why a former ballet dancer such as Lexie (not her real name we’re told) turned to stripping, and while the Creep is introduced and we’re led to believe he exerts a strong influence on Lexie (creating, we believe, a sense of fear and dread in her), he just disappears in the end with no real resolution to the tension, other than a slight surprise at the end, which I will not reveal so those who read the story can discover it for themselves.
Except for these two small weaknesses (in my personal opinion, I must stress), it’s a profoundly entertaining story, as are the others in this not-to-be-missed collection from an accomplished author. I give it four stars.