Sorel, Byron Sappho's Island
West Lawn PA Adelphi Press (c.1964) NO First Edition Hardcover Very Good+
(no dust jacket) [solid copy, light dust-soiling to top edge, top corners slightly bumped, tiny rip in cloth at base of spine]. "A Romantic Novel," per the subtitle on the front cover, but not a Lesbian idyll as the title might lead one to expect. According to a brief author's note, it is "a work of fiction in the historical setting of 1943-1947," and the eroticism seems to be strictly hetero. The book's protagonist is a fellow named Stratton Demos (apparently of Greek heritage), who as near as I can make out tries to escape from the frustration of being in love with a married woman by first joining the Army and then, in the postwar period, taking off for the Greek islands. (Yes, he does end up on Lesbos, which at that point must have been a Lesbian-Free Zone.) In addition to the sex and romance, there seems to be much consternation among the various characters over the political situation in Greece, where the latter half of the novel all takes place. The sex, by the way, is decidedly soft-soft-core, in that overwritten "Bridges of Madison County" way -- "Joyce found herself engulfed in a tidal wave. ... His fingers were matches lighting in her an all consuming fire and quenching it at the same time." Pretty neat trick, that.