I look at her in bewilderment. Peirene had been leafing through the Times Literary Supplement which features a review of The Blue Room.
‘Is it that bad?’ I asked, slightly surprised.
‘No it’s excellent. Very insightful,’ the Nymph confirms. But her body language expresses something different – her arms folded, chin on her chest, lips tight.
‘So? What’s the issue?’ I enquire.
Peirene gets up, walks across the room, picks up the paper from the floor. At my desk, she opens it up and with a finger shaking with rage follows the line as she reads out loud: ‘The publishers do Ørstavik few favours by billing her novel as the unsung precursor of Fifty Shades of Grey.’ She inhales deeply. ‘Yet another critic who has misunderstood our introduction.’ She looks at me with gleaming eyes. ‘And all because of you,’ she then adds. ‘You… you insisted on mentioning Fifty Shades.’
She marches back to her desk, while I read the article. In the background I hear her continue her tirade:
‘I warned you, didn’t I?! I said don’t mention Fifty Shades of Grey, didn’t I? People see theses words and think they know what you are saying without actually reflecting upon your statement.’ She pauses and I take this opportunity to interject.
‘The misunderstanding is fascinating, especially since it was so obvious to me that The Blue Room certainly doesn’t resemble Fifty Shades. Instead our book provides an explanation of why some women enjoy degrading sexual fantasies as portrayed in Fifty Shades.’
‘Oh listen to yourself! You think you are so clever! But clearly not clever enough to explain so everyone understands. Instead you totally embarrassed me.’ Peirene gets up and walks towards the door.
‘I will hide in bed until I can face the world again,’ she says and leaves the room. But already half an hour later she is back.
‘That wasn’t long,‘ I can’t help teasing her.
‘I thought about what you said,’ She settles back in front of her desk. ‘If readers and critics misunderstand but still read the book… then I guess we’ve done a good job.’
‘That’s right,’ I nod enthusiastically. I knew the Nymph would get what I was playing at when I decided to mention such evocative title as Fifty Shades of Grey.
‘And…,’ a wicked smile appears on her lips, ‘I am of course completely innocent. The whole introduction bears your name.’
Image by Marcie.