Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Out of the Shadows and into the Darkness by Senta Holland

HarperCollins 2013

A literary BDSM novel
‘Out of the Shadows’ has been called the 21st century equivalent to ‘Story of O’, the ultimate classic of the genre.  It is a literary BDSM novel, written in an edgy, contemporary style and exploring the power of sex and sexual identity.

Romance readers have described ‘Out of the Shadows’ as an ‘eye opener’:  it shows the real life experience of ‘BDSM from the inside out’, with all the heartbreak and loneliness as well as the ecstatic sex and deep intimate connection between two people who walk this difficult path.

A long overdue novel that takes BDS sexuality seriously and elevates it to literature, ‘Out of the Shadows’ is also a deeply felt and superbly written love story in an exotic Asian setting, a modern take on ‘The Lover’ by Marguerite Duras.  In vividly drawn scenes from jungles to megacities with secret mango alleys, Senta explores the beautiful darkness in seven bedrooms.  Her erotic journey is explored with the same wild and raw energy. 

Senta’s journey through the seven bedrooms
Senta, a thirty something Londoner, travels around the planet looking for the man who can match her. The one she finds is her ‘Nai’, a high society American in Asia. Senta's story is both complicated and made more exciting by the fact that it unfolds in the dark world of BDSM, a world that can be quite hostile to single, independent females. Highly erotic, deeply romantic, funny, heartfelt and beautifully tragic, this book shows the BDSM experience from the inside out, as reality, not just fantasy.  Above all it is an intelligent, insightful and deeply sensitive love story that will take you to places beyond your wildest dreams and open up the most secret aspects of your erotic identity.  It will make you lust, think, feel and cry. Senta’s  message to her readers is passionate and clear:  Never give up looking for your true sexuality.

The book has been described as an ‘eye opener’ by readers who mistakenly read it as ‘Romance’ and, in spite of reading many erotic and kinky fantasies, never thought about the realities of living a BDSM sexuality. 

It is only because of the absurd division into ‘literature’ and ‘genre’ that books like OOTS are not on the main shelf in the bookshop.  


  1. Yes, this book is an eye opener. Definitely. I've never thought about the 'genre' and 'literature' division before but it does seem absurd. It seems to me that the book world needs to grow up... Especially in the 'adult' section. Thanks for presenting all these exciting books to us.

  2. I came across Senta Holland a while ago and admire her writing. I for one certainly feel that a literary BDSM novel like this one, very contemporary and unconventional both in subject and in style, is long overdue. And I echo Mr Lister's question here: why do books like this get shelved in romance while they could perhaps even win literary prizes if they were recognized as 'literature'? Come to think of it, when has an 'erotica' labelled novel won such a prize?

  3. James & Serena - it's always good to see readers responding to quality writing. This is a damned good book but, like so many good erotic titles, the mainstream media ignore it in favour of something less contentious.

    Still - at least we know it's out there and we can try to convert the world one reader at a time ;-)



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