James reads Triptych by Krissy Kneen

Words by James Butler

Published on May 27, 2012

When I talk to people about Krissy Kneen’s Triptych, I often come to a crossroad. A bestiality crossroad. If I tell you that this book features explicit scenes of bestiality it will put you off, and I think you (everyone) really ought to read it! But, however, sexual intercourse between a person and an animal is not the kind of thing I like to spring on someone reading a book under my recommendation without some notice. So I’ll tell you now, Triptych contains exactly that. Animal penis, in human vagina. Dog, octopus and horse.

Despite these more graphic scenes, Triptych is no simple gross-out novel. Kneen has clearly set out to push the conventions of sexual experience, and she does this in the best possible way: with a soft and tender hand. Kneen explores universal experiences in a way that is confronting, but also poetic and charming. While subject matter reaches to the darker ends of human sexuality, these encounters are anchored by plausible and well-drawn characters who are trying not to be defined by their unconventional sexualities. Some encounters are so ridiculous and funny that I chortled even while squirming in my seat.

A human woman is giving a human man named James Bacon a blowjob when she tastes the “salty tang of Bacon” down the back of her throat. OH I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE KRISSY KNEEN.

A book of this nature isn’t one that many, including myself, would normally pick up, but that’s not to say that we shouldn’t. Triptych is wholly readable – I read it in one sitting – and my comfort with the characters was what really unsettled me. I’m sure a lot of people have had feelings for people other than their partners, it’s just not that often that this partner also happens to be their brother.

Did I mention the incest? There’s a little bit of incest. Don’t mind that though, it’s nothing compared to the bestiality.