by Barbra Leslie,
160 pages,
ISBN: 1896356192

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First Novels - Bloodlines
by Eva Tihanyi

The same, unfortunately, cannot be said about Nerve (Gutter Press, 142 pages, $15.95 paper), by Barbra Leslie. Nerve is a series of short episodes focused on the sexual exploits of Evelyn, who, starting with the seduction at fifteen of her English teacher, has sex in much the same way as some have a shot of scotch-habitually but without much significance. Sex is not a big deal for Evelyn; it's basically a way for her to manipulate men. Her "adventures" fast become tiresome, not just because they are all we see of her but because she doesn't grow through experiencing them. She doesn't change; she just gets older.

Nerve is certainly not "an exploration of women's sexuality" in the way the back cover would lead us to believe. Exploration implies depth, scrutiny, movement. Leslie's writing doesn't exhibit much of any of these.


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