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Reviewed by Teodora Totorean for Readers' Favorite
The Woman Who Sparked the Greatest Sex Scandal of All Times by Eli Yaakunah is a dystopian novel that transposes the reader into a fictitious world about love, truths, and world-saving. This book can be read as an allegory of journalism and the political system. The main character is Ishtar, who works in a news agency as a sex writer and who has just been promoted to a scriptwriter. At the same time, she learns that the man she loves has disappeared. In an attempt to find out what happened to him, Ishtar encounters a pivotal character, Arianne, who will challenge Ishtar’s believe in love and truth. As the agency’s aim is to create fictitious news to warp reality, Ishtar starts to doubt her role in the agency as well as the role of journalism in general. As she writes her new novel with the pen name Eli Yaakunah (the author’s name), the plot leads to one question: will she sacrifice love for the truth?
I haven't read such a good book in a long time. It is poetic and written as a literary piece where writing is a form of art. Yes, there are a few explicit sex scenes, but they are meant to complement the plot and give the character depth. They carry the reader into Ishtar’s imagination as a sex writer, as well as into the personalities of the people she encounters. The sex scenes are not gratuitous. As for the title, the way I understood it, it is meant to deceive the reader, just like a pompous headline of a tabloid. I enjoyed reading the book as nothing is as it appears to be: the Assyrian goddess of love, sex, and war (Ishtar) has a Greek muse (Erato); she works in an agency and she is well paid; the news is fabricated to impose control. In my view, the book is a metaphor for how an oppressed freedom of speech looks like when people get too comfortable in their chairs to fight back. I recommend this book for both the content that makes you think and the author’s talent with words that make you read a sentence twice just for the beauty of it.