iUniverse, 263 pages, (paperback) $17.95, 9781491765593 (Reviewed: August 2015)
Tango’s Tales is at once a highly erotic, laugh-out-loud funny, subtly emotional, and brutally honest fictional memoir.
Tango hasn’t had sex in four years. Struggling with Major Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, and ADD, she’s spent the last several years making friends with soap opera characters and game show hosts while isolating herself from the world except to go to work. Although it’s only a brief part of the narrative, Lisa Kopel bravely tackles the issue of mental illness with stark honesty and dark humor; her treatment of the subject is both memorable and impactful.
With her meds in order and no longer in seclusion, Tango sets out to find sexual partners through a website known to be more for sex than dating. Immediately successful in her quest, Tango chronicles her sexual exploits with men she meets online, as well as other men in her life.
Tango shares her narrative in clever ways in brief chapters that reflect different conceits: Sometimes she simply recounts a hot night with one of her partners, but she also presents blog posts, brief fantasies, journal entries, email exchanges, and even advice she gives other users of the website. Each chapter is engaging in its own way. Many stories, like “Black is the New Brown” and “Swedish Fish,” combine erotica, stark honesty, and slightly dark wit; it’s as if she’s a more feminine, less misogynistic Tucker Max, the raunchy, edgy male author. Some stories, like “Zero Break,” show a much more vulnerable side to our female protagonist. Although the pieces are somewhat random and many can stand on their own individually, the book does present a full story.
Kopel boldly addresses sexuality, mental illness, and infidelity. Tango’s Tales is a no- holds-barred and often shocking one-woman show that is not for timid readers but perfect for those who enjoy erotica that cleverly blends sex and humor with refreshingly candid storytelling.
Also available as an ebook.