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A Blessing and a Curse

Eli Gilic
Eli Gilic Author Interview

Slaves to Desire is a collection of short stories that tells provocative stories about the world’s great writers, literary characters and artists. What was your inspiration for the stories in this collection?

I have translated erotica bestsellers, wasn’t particularly thrilled with them and wondered why nobody writes erotica that I would like to read: stories that would move me or make me think twice about something, stories that have something to say instead of only offering a romance with steamy bedroom scenes. And then I concluded that there must be more people like me and decided to write that kind of book so we can enjoy it.

These stories explore complex issues that are inherent to the human condition. What were some ideas that were important for you to explore?

Does unconditional love exist or is it only a myth ‒ I tried to explore that in the story of George Sand and Frederic Chopin. Does easy access really kill romance and inspire deviations, as Rasputin muses during his existential crisis during an orgy. Is free will an illusion and everything that we think and feel is actually ancestral heritage, as Hamlet and Ophelia try to find out when they escape Shakespeare’s scroll? Can loneliness be a blessing and a curse at the same time, as Van Gogh struggles to find out? Can a relationship between two headstrong partners who don’t want to make compromises, like Dostoevsky and Polina Suslova, work? What would a man facing death think about, as Lorca does in his final moments?

How did you decide what historical and literary figures to include in your collection?

That one was easy, I included my favorite figures, Charles Baudelaire, Antonin Artaud, Salvador Dali, Van Gogh… They are fascinating and their lives were equally fascinating. I really enjoyed researching their lives since I tried to portray the background of all historical figures as accurately as possible. As for the literary figures, Anna Karenina and Romeo and Juliet made me think the most in high school so I wished to honour them in my first book.

Do you have plans to publish future works of short stories?

I am writing my second collection of short stories, equally dark and thought-provoking. Harry Houdini and Antoine de Saint-Exupery are among my new characters.

Author Links: GoodReads | Instagram | Facebook | Website

Charles Baudelaire, Rasputin, Anna Karenina, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Ophelia, Fyodor Dostoevsky, George Sand, Frederic Chopin, Vincent Van Gogh, Antonin Artaud, Maria Izquierdo, James Joyce, Federico Garcia Lorca, Salvador Dali.

Can Rasputin find redemption through the sins of others? What awaits Anna Karenina on the other side? Does passion still flow through the veins of the lovers from Verona? Can Hamlet and Ophelia escape their fate? Is Van Gogh’s loneliness a blessing or a curse? And can Dali dispel Lorca’s fear.

Eli Gilić deftly weaves fact and fiction to bring some of the world’s great writers, literary characters, artists and composers to life as they reach the heights of passion and the depths of despair in this mesmerising erotic short story collection.

Slaves to Desire

Slaves to Desire is composed of 11 short stories that are as insightful as they are erotic. By weaving fictional tales around some of the most successful European artists of all time, she manages to find that storytelling sweet spot between fact and fiction.

The book talks of George Sand, Salvador Dali, Antonin Artaud, Anna Karenina, Romeo and Juliet, and even Hamlet and Ophelia as if they were here with us today. The poetic and emotional way in which this book is written left me with a deeper understanding of what it means to be an artist.

As I progressed from page to page, I was confronted by melancholy, mania, and deep love. Great was the love of one character that they cared for their ill lover till death took them away, leaving her without enough strength to attend the funeral.

Another character, crushed by the pain of being separated from their ailing lover for years, suffers a stroke and struggles to learn how to paint again. But of all the stories, the one that resonates with me the most is the one of the artist plagued by relentless loneliness and melancholy that seems only to be cured by painting.

But even then, they prefer solitude over the company of others. As a writer who spends a lot of time alone, this story is deeply relatable to me and forces me to think more deeply about my life. Ultimately, Slaves to Desire is much more than a book about sex, it discusses complex issues that are inherent to the human condition.

Apart from love, some of the running themes include the need for belonging, the importance of sacrifice, the influence of religion on sexual exploration, and the grief of mourning a loved one’s death. This book is beautifully written, with tons of descriptive language and even quotes from some of the greatest literary pieces of our time. It is clear that the author is a lover of literature and that she poured her heart and soul into this piece.

But it was not lost on me that even these scenes have a deeper meaning to them, giving us more understanding of the psyche of the characters. Slaves to Desire is a well-written and thought-provoking work of art.

Pages: 216 | ASIN: B07SS5D8KR

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