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Trompe-l'oeil: Or, the Old In and Out. Of Love. (English Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Russell Bittner

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Caveat lector.

If you're looking for a quick fix, an easy source of titillation, TROMPE-l'OEIL is not for you. Following the erotic hook of Chapter One (1,200+ words), this novel requires almost sixty-five pages of character development. In other words, not for the weak an weary. 'Just warning.

If E. L. James (of FIFTY SHADES fame) was in any way a disappointment to you as a reader, TROMPE-l'OEIL may be a suitable antidote—maybe even an elixir. Its author, Russell Bittner, finished this book in 2004—years before the FIFTY SHADES trilogy was born. It's not the product of fan fiction or of any such collaborative effort; rather, it's the author’s own work—start to finish—conceived, developed and executed in his own Brooklyn, New York garden. As is every work of fiction, it's in part the product of his imagination, in part the product of his experience. The languages (with English translations), he feels, are integral to the story and are his own—the product of ten years’ study on the Continent. They're not meant to impress or annoy, but rather—he hopes—to enhance. And, he feels, they will bear up under the scrutiny of any native speaker.

DANEKA SØRENSEN is a Danish transplant to NYC, where she manages her life from an Upper East Side apartment building by night and from the top floor of a mid-town skyscraper by day—ostensibly, all under tight control. KIT ADDISON is a fashion photographer with a sideline penchant for flora and poetry who lives on the Lower East Side. The distance between them, however, is about much more than a mere hundred city blocks.

The first sixty-five pages (other than the "erotic hook" of Chapter 1) are devoted to setting and character development. From that point on, all hell breaks loose.

That said, Russell has always believed that a woman’s most erogenous zone is between her ears. Whatever hell breaks should break only between each such pair of ears.

That’s as much as you need to know about the two principal characters and about the “nature” of this book. The rest will reveal—and unveil—itself in the eighty-two chapters of the story whose journey, incidentally, takes us from New York to Paris, to Lisbon and the coast of Portugal, to Rome and Positano, to Copenhagen and to Bornholm (an island in the Baltic Sea), then finally back to New York City.

The thirty-three reviews (as of today, September 11, 2013) should tell you the rest.

Caveat lector! This is not a story for lovers of the work of Jane Austen—except for what MIGHT have existed in that author’s imagination. Unfortunately for her, however, Jane Austen didn’t live in our more liberal times.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Russell Bittner is first and foremost a father; next, a poet; thirdly, a writer of both fiction (this novel; two collections of short stories plus one novella in each; a memoir; one four-act drama; and 100+ poems) and non-fiction (LETTERS TO MY CHILDREN); and lastly, a citizen of the world, a denizen of the planet. He aspires only to the simple life. The life of abundance is one he has in large part thanks to his two children, Chris)topher) and Alex(andra).


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 859 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 448 Seiten
  • ISBN-Quelle für Seitenzahl: 1478151056
  • Verlag: Amazon Kindle; Auflage: 1 (4. Januar 2014)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #486.189 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

  •  Ist der Verkauf dieses Produkts für Sie nicht akzeptabel?

Mehr über den Autor

Ich bin der Autor verschiedener Werke, das neueste deren den Titel "Letters to My Children" trägt. Dieses Werk besteht ganz einfach aus Briefe an meine Kinder, welche ich an die beiden zwischen dem Alter von 0 und 18 (bzw., 1991 - 2012) zur Gelegenheit deren Geburtstage geschrieben habe.

Gibt es etwas Besonderes darin? Das kann ich in aller Ehre weder behaupten noch bestätigen. Solch eine Interpretation liegt wohl an dem Leser.

Ich habe hier auch bei Amazon einen Roman titels "Trompe-l'oeil." Das Werk ist durchaus nicht für Minderjärige gemeint noch auf Minderjärige geziehlt. Also, bitte, Achtung!

Jedenfalls sind beide Werke auf englisch geschrieben -- und auf ein englisch, das nur Fortgeschrittene verstehen werden. (Das gilt auch für Fortgeschrittene, allerdings, deren Muttersprache englisch ist.)


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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.5 von 5 Sternen  37 Rezensionen
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Trompe l'oeil is the real thing. 27. April 2011
Von Dave Newton - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Like the artist's illusion for which it was named, "Trompe l'oeil" fools the eye. You can read it, as I did at the start, as intense eroticism, a shock to the system. But unlike its namesake artform, "Trompe l'oeil" rips away its own photographic realism to reveal truth. Kit, a New York photographer, dives into lust with Daneka, a top magazine editor, and falls into an endless sea of obsession and indifference, rapture and rejection. As each layer of deception burns away, we discover the truth about Kit -- it is the man who is the romantic in this love story, the woman the unreachable lover. "Trompe l'oeil" is a harrowing journey, literally and metaphorically, by a powerful writer throwing caution to the winds. It satisfies, comprehensively.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A Walk on the Wild Side 12. März 2011
Von Tracy Riva - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
Bittner's prose shines in Trompe l'Oeil a story of love, need, addiction and darkness. With strong characters, erotic scenes and a deepening picture of damage that goes far beneath the surface and may be more than love can handle, or heal.

Daneka Sorensen is a Dane, living in New York City running a high powered publishing empire. Kit is an up and coming, though not yet arrived, photographer living in East Village. Their pairing is unusual, but Daneka finds herself madly attracted to him despite the difference in their financial and social standings. Kit, is fascinated by Daneka, with that fascination quickly turning into love touched with obsession. Even when Kit discovers the darker side of Daneka's nature moving on will prove difficult, if not impossible.

Together Kit and Daneka set off on a European tour ending in Denmark at Daneka's home and with visits to her mother. As they progress throughout Europe Daneka becomes moodier and more withdrawn. Kit desperately wants to understand the problem, but by the time they reach Denmark it dawns on him that even though he loves this woman, their relationship may not last much longer. Something is changing in Daneka, pulling her further and further away from him.

Trompe l'Oeil is a fascinating look into the darkness of a soul and whether it can be healed by love, while at the same time examining how much that love can take and how long it will hold on, despite mounting evidence that it isn't wanted. Is it really not desired or is the damage done to a soul so comprehensive that it is unable to take in even the sustenance it most desires. This is a question delved into by Bittner with his complex characters, erotic scenes and wonderful prose.

Trompe l'Oeil is a bit long and requires some time to read as there are subtle nuances in most scenes that you don't want to miss. Trompe l'Oeil explores the complexity of the human condition and the question of whether or not love really can conquer all in a complicated and fascinating story.
7 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Bittner is a prose master, and writer of intelligence, erudition and charm. 4. März 2011
Von Lucinda K. Gavrielatos - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
Trompe l'oeil, by Russell Bittner, is a tantalizingly brilliant story about the human condition. At the most elementary level, it's a tale of a man who falls in love with a woman who possesses a terrible secret. It's also a story about love's loss, obsession, addiction and disturbance manifested in erotic self-abuse and the inability of damaged people to love anyone or anything but sensation.

Be ready for the rollercoaster read of your life!

The book is, in turns: erotic, poetic, philosophical and literate--but ultimately, it's a simple tale about falling in love with someone who can't be reached. It reminded me of another book about the human condition and of a character I love and am still moved to tears by--`Joe Christmas' in William Faulkner's Light In August. Joe's a brutal man who commits a brutal act and is ultimately taken down by equally brutal men. Joe Christmas was a child damaged by neglect and the innocent circumstances of his half-breed birth in the white-dominated South. The beauty of the terrible tale is in Faulkner's description. Bittner has done ditto.

Daneka S'rensen, the principal female character in Trompe l'il, is also damaged at a young age (in part) by her father's suicide. What happened in her past dictates her future. An educated Managing Editor of a leading fashion magazine--as well as a "professional adventuress," she meets Kit Addison, a younger photographer, and takes him off on a whirlwind sexual trip to Europe where they figuratively eat each other alive. The trip ends--as does the affair--when she takes him to her childhood home on the Danish island of Bornholm to meet her mother. Once home, she reverts to who she really is--a damaged child very unlike the thriving Manhattanite she at first appears to be. She also tells Kit, in a parable of the Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid as they stand gazing at it once back in the port of Copenhagen, what happened to her.

The book is, in part, Daneka's story and, in part, Kit's. The latter concerns itself with Kit's coming to terms with his attraction to, and obsession with, Daneka, as well as with his journey to try to understand both her and himself in light of her rejection.

The end is bittersweet and beautifully rendered by Bittner, a prose master, and writer of intelligence, erudition and charm. He's also a poet--and that, too, comes through in the writing. In fact, to me, the actual writing was the sexiest part of the book. And indeed no one less literary than François Mauriac once wrote: "I believe that only poetry counts ... A great novelist is first of all a great poet."

This is a disturbing, painful look at the human condition and what it can do to us--its victims. But in the very end, it's about the thing we all seek--love--and sometimes don't find, but have to accept on its terms to be well and to survive. Light In August was also about love--or the lack of. So is The World According to Garp--another marvelous book about disturbance and love.

Read this one. It might just change your life.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Very well written 16. Mai 2013
Von Vikki Snider - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
I guess that somehow I wasn't quite aware that this was a very steamy love story by the review I read. None the less, I started reading it, not thinking that I would finish it. I'm not really into romances, especially very sexually explicit romances

But this book had me from the first (even though, I will admit, I did skip a few of the more um detailed stuff) and I really had a couple of rough days at work from lack of sleep.

The sexually explicit writing is not there gratuitously. It's truly part of the story and the story would not have been the same without it. This is a twist on a modern day Romeo & Juliet, with an equally tragic ending. If anyone has ever been through anything remotely close to what the female protagonist went through (unfortunately more common than people are comfortable thinking about), you will identify with her. Mr. Bittner nailed it.

Read this story with all of this in mind. Also know that the writer stayed true to his story and did not make a happy ending for his readers.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen not for the faint of heart 6. November 2013
Von Awesome Indies Reviews - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
Ordinarily here I would copy in the book blurb, but in this case I find it very wordy, which is much like the rest of the book. Instead I offer you my very brief synopsis:
Meet Daneka Sorenson, a very wealthy Danish transplant to New York City. Enter Kit, a financially poor New York Photographer. After a very short romantic encounter they then don't see one another for another 11 years, when they are once again thrown together. What follows is a steamy love affair, but with a cloud hanging over the relationship. They leave New York and travel together through many European cities ...
"What gradually comes to light in the space of two continents and one return transatlantic flight is that, while love's bite may initially be sweet, the aftertaste may be exceedingly bitter--when not downright nauseating." (This last bit is taken from the end of the book's blurb).

The book starts very slowly, and even when it reaches speed the book remains a complicated read. It feels as though the author has tried too hard for a colourful array of vocabulary, which ends up confusing and hard work. This comes across as a very intellectual book, which makes it very difficult to place. Whilst it definitely satisfies the criteria for outright erotica, I would have to say that this would be erotica aimed at the highly intellectual reader. This book sits very definitely within the Adult genre, and is not for the faint hearted.

The first 20% of the book is given over to a commentary from the author - we don't meet the characters really until this point - a fifth of the way in. The point of view changes often from one paragraph to the next, with a sudden shift of point of view mid flow on at least two occasions. We start the narrative with a lengthy foreword, and then leap 11 years to the first chapter. More detailed description and commentary follows, and finally - at about 30% of the way into the book - we are introduced properly to Daneka and Kit. However, the wordiness continues, which may explain why this is such a long book - over 160,000 words (approximately 450 pages). The book could do with some further editing, and there are enough instances of inadequate proofing to interrupt the read. Throughout, the dialogue is presented in many and various languages, each instance accompanied by an English translation. One nice touch was the inclusion of links to Youtube for the different pieces of music described, unfortunately - here in the UK at least - not all of those links work.

There is no doubt that this writer can write, and has great powers of description. However, the language used in this book is complicated where it could be simple. Whilst there were a few lines that I really liked, for the most part I simply found this book hard work. If you are a highly intellectual reader who enjoys erotica then this would be the book for you. At 450 pages this is never going to be a quick study. This is not a book for the faint hearted, and not just because of the sexuality. There is one scene in which we are treated to an incredibly graphic description of an automobile accident and its physical consequences for the bodies involved. Overall this is a decent enough read, and the author shows potential. He does, however, need to polish and simplify the writing and smooth out a few rough spots. I offer a soft 3 stars for this book.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review

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