Martha Baer As Francesca

ISBN 13: 9780553067545

As Francesca

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9780553067545: As Francesca
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Elaine, ambitious and hardworking, plays by the rules at the office so well that she's on the brink of an impressive promotion. But in the cyberspace world she visits every night as "Francesca," she plays by a different set of rules. There, her cool mastery gives way to abject obedience, as the mysterious "Inez" seduces her into demeaning--and irresistible--sexual adventures. When a careless mistake destroys the barrier between virtual reality and her corporate life--and suggests a disturbing connection between her nightly degradation and her professional success--Elaine becomes obsessed with finding her real-life paramour. Her speculations about Inez's true identity quickly run wild, and soon all her once-innocent encounters with friends and colleagues are charged with sexual overtones.

In a darkly comic, highly erotic tale for our time, Martha Baer captures the allure of anonymous cyber-sex and the elusiveness of gender definitions and social identity. As Francesca will appeal to all those who have ever been seduced by the power of words--and by their own imaginations.

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Review:

Playing out fantasies that won't effect our daily realities is a potent lure for people who inhabit computer chat rooms. In this mesmerizing novel, Martha Baer talks about that phenomenon and adds the potent element of obsession with an online but otherwise unknown lover. Francesca is the online persona of Elaine, a promising young professional who exhibits much savvy while making her way up the corporate ladder. By night, though, as Francesca, she becomes the willing submissive lover of Inez. When Elaine slips and reveals her true identity, Inez disappears, leaving Elaine searching frantically for Inez--with unexpected consequences.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Baer's six-month serial for Wired's on-line magazine, Hotwired (where this first-time novelist is executive editor), loses some pizazz in its translation to print as heroine Elaine V. Botsch, corporate cog by day, on-line sex slave by night, travels compulsively back and forth between her mutually enriching worlds. For years, Elaine Botsch has remained a contented small player in the budgeting department of Poplar & Skeen, but the attractive young employee's recent involvement in an on-line sex conference has not only spiced up her evenings but spurred her on to ambitious new heights in her career as well. In ways that Elaine can only guess, her humiliating electronic trysts as ``Francesca'' with a dominatrix who calls herself ``Inez'' have led to such excellent performance at her workplace that she's even up for a promotion into the executive ranks. Weeks fly by brilliantly as Elaine kneels down before her mistress by night and spouts eye-catching suggestions for corporate improvement by day--that is, until the night she accidentally logs on with her real name rather than her anonymous on-line ``handle.'' It soon becomes clear from Inez's subsequent references to Francesca's promotion and workplace that she knows her lover in their daytime lives. Elaine's confidence begins to crumble as she seeks to discover who at the office knows what sort of woman she really is. Then Inez disappears among the phone lines, absconding with her mysterious magic. This darkly humorous tale of erotic isolation would certainly scan well on the glowing screen of an office PC. In the clear light of print, however, a mediocre style and increasingly flimsy plot distract from the clever premise, leaving a reader unfulfilled and underamused. ($40,000 ad/promo; author tour) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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9780767901277: As Francesca

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ISBN 10:  0767901274 ISBN 13:  9780767901277
Publisher: Broadway Books, 1998
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