Fiction by Care Experienced authors

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Nothing Natural

Jenny Diski

1986

Nothing Natural is the 1986 debut novel by Jenny Diski, initially published in hardback through Simon & Schuster. It follows a young woman who enters into a sadomasochistic relationship with a charming and domineering man. The book, perceived as an S&M-book by the New Yorker, received some backlash upon its release, as critic Anthony Thwaite criticized it as being "the most revolting book I've ever read," and the feminist magazine Sisterwrite chose to ban Diski from publishing with them. Rachel Kee is a depressed single mother who has been slowly withdrawing from the world around her. She's still suffering from the lasting effects of a disastrous childhood where her father abandoned his family, pushing Rachel's mother further into madness and prompting Rachel's removal and placement in a foster home. When she meets Joshua, she's almost instantly drawn to him. The two begin to indulge in a sadomasochistic relationship where Joshua will appear for a rough session of sex and then disappear for months on end. Eventually Rachel begins to question the relationship, especially after reading about the kidnapping and rape of a young girl, complete with a composite sketch that greatly resembles Joshua.