he & She

Fiction - General
369 Pages
Reviewed on 11/11/2015
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by J. Aislynn d'Merricksson for Readers' Favorite

Wayne Clark’s he & She is a wonderfully introspective novel. Kit Cayman is a middle-aged man whose life has fallen into a soul numbing rut. He is a man going through andropause, the masculine equivalent of menopause. A translator by day and amateur musician in his free time, Kit has reached the point in his life where he questions the choices he has made that led him here. He feels unfulfilled. A chance glimpse of a beautiful young woman stirs Kit out of the staleness his life has fallen into. It awakens within him hunger and a need he hadn't fully been aware of before now. We follow Kit as he ventures into a world considered taboo by most, the world of BDSM. If this is a world new to the reader, as it is to Kit, said reader will get a proper introduction to it, as well as an understanding of some of the factors that may draw one to explore (and enjoy) this hidden and variegated path.

Rather than being a trite or fluffy, feel-good ‘pass the time’ bit of reading, he & She is a rich psychological and philosophical exploration into human nature and human need. Clark’s writing is fluid and smooth, mostly being devoted to a narrative form, with sparse dialogue. He makes it work, and work well. Unlike stories with a superficial similarity, (think Fifty Shades of Grey) Kit is a character who is ‘real’, a character we can identify with. He is ordinary, average. This isn't about romantic fantasy as played out in romance novels, but real life. You won't find happy endings in Clark’s he & She, no pun intended. If that's what you are most interested in, walk away now. If, however, human nature intrigues you, and you aren't too afraid of being prompted to introspection, then this is most certainly the read for you!

Heather Osborne

Wayne Clark's he & She is a curious exploration of one man’s adventure into BDSM as a submissive. Kit Cayman works as a translator from home, making his own hours, and generally avoiding the 9-to-5 rush around. He prefers his life that way, and it suits his needs. An amateur musician as well, Kit often connects with his upstairs neighbor to have ‘jam sessions.’ However, Kit, also known as K, feels his life is missing something. K begins to message dominatrices about his submissive fantasies of being spanked. As the novel progresses, we bounce around from K’s past and present as he narrates how he came to this point in his life.

It isn’t often you come across a novel chronicling the life of a male submissive. Initially, I was reminded of Charlotte Gainsbourg telling Stellan Skarsgard of her behavior in the film Nymphomaniac. We see various sexual experiences of K, none described too explicitly, with his submissive tendencies coming into play. He attempts to analyze himself, figuring out why he feels the way he does, and why he cannot be happy with a vanilla relationship. I felt there were parts of the text that were unnecessary to K’s exploration of his submissiveness, and more there to describe his background. Overall though, he & She by Wayne Clark presented an interesting concept not often seen in today’s female submissive dominated romance scene.

Kayti Nika Raet

Wayne Clark's he & She is an intriguing work of literary fiction. It opens with a man on the cusp of death before going back to reveal his journey before that moment. It's almost a reverse coming of age story of the main character, Kit Cayman, who has spent the last fifty years mostly ambling through life, buffeted along by the tides of time that no longer match the idealized version that he had hoped for himself. Numb and lonely, he happens upon an image online that piques his interest and brings up half formed fantasies that had gathered dust since adolescence. It's a picture of a regal woman who happens to be a dominatrix. Determined to learn more about her and through her himself, he contacts her and thus begins a journey of self-discovery, hope, and maybe even love.

This book is far from erotica, despite the sexual nature of the subject matter, but is a character study interested more in peeling back the layers of a man in malaise than titillating voyeuristic readers. I liked how he & She got deep into K's head. So much so that it was easy to forget where one chapter began and another ended as you were swept up in the highs and lows of his journey. Sometimes that made for a difficult read as my first instinct is to distance myself from characters who dwell in funks as their thought process is stifling. But Clark's writing kept me curious and I wanted to see where the path between K and his "Egyptian Princess" would lead. An intriguing character study and a unique read.

Kathryn Bennett

He & She by Wayne Clark takes us into the bored life of Kit. He has a boring career, a girlfriend that has been on again and off again, and now he is turning fifty. A man who has lost the vivid colors of life and now only seems to see shades of grey. That is until one night he looks on the internet and finds a photo of a young woman. The photo shows a woman of regal bearing who is beautiful and something about her just brings a spark of color back into his life. What he could not know until he read further down the page is that this woman is a dominatrix.

The first thing you need to know is that this book is no 50 Shades of Grey. It may be BDSM but this book reaches far above 50 Shades in both style and content. What He & She does is dive into the truest meaning of what it is to be human, the desires that we have and just how deep those desires tend to run. This book is both cerebral and entertaining, and I enjoyed following the journey that Kit finds himself on once he decided that he may not be the dominating sexual man he always thought he was, but instead a submissive.

The first part of the book is a little bit different and it could possibly turn some people off if they aren't expecting to be introduced to an older man who only has the pleasure of masturbating left to him as he lies in a hospital bed. With that said, once you move beyond that and dig into the history of Kit's life and the analyzing he does of every choice he has ever made, you will be in for a treat. This is a deep and interesting read and one that I did truly enjoy.