The Anatomy Of Desire by John L’Heureux, 1981
The magic trick:
Creating a cycle of infinite dissatisfaction
Is this my favorite short story? No.
Would I recommend it to a friend? Probably not.
Is it among the most impressive short stories I’ve ever read? In a way, yes, yes it is.
It is nearly perfect in craft and construction. Even the title is perfect in its description and double meaning. Everything is symmetrical, which is crucial when you consider that the story’s main point is the way desire is a cycle of infinite discontent. It only makes sense that every image and plot point folds in upon itself into a distorted repetition.
And that’s quite a trick on L’Heureux’s part.
So she lay down with him in his bloody bed and he found great satisfaction in holding this small woman in his arms. He kissed her and caressed her and felt young and whole again. He did not miss his wife and children. He did not miss his skin.
The saint did everything she must. She told him how handsome he was and what pleasure he gave her. She touched him in the way he liked best. She said he was her whole life, her fate. And at night when he woke her to staunch the blood, she whispered how she needed him, how she could not live without him.
This went on for some time.
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