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Temptation: A User's Guide


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About the Author

Vesna Main was born in Zagreb, Croatia. She studied comparative literature before obtaining a doctorate from the Shakespeare Institute in Birmingham. She has worked as a journalist, lecturer and teacher. Her two novels are A Woman With No Clothes On (Delancey Press, 2008) and The Reader the Writer (Mirador, 2015). The latter is written entirely in dialogue and one of the characters is a young prostitute who is also the protagonist of `Safe'. Recent short stories have appeared in Persimmon Tree and Winamop.


In the opening pages of Vesna Main's short story collection we meet two women - both objects of the male gaze but under very different circumstances. The first story references EastEnders, the second the Salon des Refuses, challenging the reader's moral perception and demonstrating the nuances of consent. Themes like these emerge throughout the otherwise disconnected 20 stories in the Croatian author's collection. They are introduced with a quote by Alberto Manguel from his novel All Men Are Liars: "It is strange that no reader ever understood that my only subject is love." The desire to be loved runs throughout Temptation, but there are no happily-everafters here.

-- Antonia Charlesworth * Big Issue in the North *

In these beautifully observed stories, Main deftly explores love's myriad forms.

-- Emily Rhodes * The Spectator *

Lush Library Recommends: Anna James' Books for 2018 Another collection of short stories, this one from Croatian writer Main, these look at ideas of loneliness, passion and obsession and the sometimes grey areas between them. In these experimental stories of different lengths and styles, her characters include a prostitute turned murderer, a self-destructive book collection and a perfectionist dinner party hostess.

-- Anna James

Main is excellent at building suspense, which is very difficult to achieve effectively in a short story. The successful development and maintenance of suspense is the difference between plucking delicately on a string to set up a subtle, subliminal vibration of psychological discomfort, rather than sawing on it to create a jarring noise which just irritates. Main is a writer who works subliminal for all it's worth.

-- Elaine Aldred * Strange Alliances *

Main's stories are vivid, strange, thrillingly brief and filled with sex, violence and the banal horror of daily life. They are unusual tales filled with often unlikeable characters. Temptation is for you if you like witty, sharp dialogue, experimental modernist fiction and stories which speak to the darkest corner of ourselves.

-- Megan Kenny * Disclaimer Magazine *

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