Young is about to embark on his fourth tour of duty, serving as a harem boy in the households of rich and powerful Arab men. His guardian-lover Andy is still by his side to protect the teenager. This time their master is Sheik Fahrib, the childhood friend and now lover of the boys' previous host Prince ‘P.’ The Sheik's life is complicated, to say the least, and navigating the politics of his master's household will provide a new challenge for Young.
In this fourth volume of the autobiography about a young man's sexual awakening in the 1960s, we're definitely seeing a pattern emerge. In each of the households they serve, Young and Andy meet the man who will be their master for the next term. While I still have my doubts about how much of this autobiography is really true, the notion that Young is essentially passed around among a group of close friends makes the story a bit more plausible. The secret EROS group might just be an invention or exaggeration to put a more legitimate front on what amounts to human trafficking.
As in the previous books, scenes recounting the young man's increasingly adventurous sexual liaisons are alternated with stories about the lessons he receives from the rather unconventional tutors that his masters hire for him and the other “exchange” students. Many of the sessions recounted in this volume revolve around philosophy, tackling questions such as the difference between sex and love. There's also quite a lengthy discussion about transcendental meditation, which was just becoming popular at the time. We also hear a bit more directly from Andy as he and Young reconnect during the writing of the series. The two trade stories about some of the adventures they've had since parting ways after school.
I couldn't help feeling a little melancholy when reading this installment of the series. Whether the author really met the people mentioned or not, this entire series has driven home what an exciting time the 1960s were. Young and his friends are at the forefront of the sexual revolution. Granted, he's there through association with some very rich and powerful people, but it's a reminder of how far things came in just that decade. It's especially poignant in light of recent losses that have rolled back many of the achievements in rights and liberations. Of course, it wasn't all good. The Vietnam War isn't mentioned at all, but then almost none of the story takes place in the United States. The mention of Transcendental Meditation also reminded me there was a lot of silliness in that decade as well.
“Turpitude” is available from Amazon.