Review

The Lost Diary of Don Juan

by Douglas Carlton Abrams

Douglas Carlton Abrams begins THE LOST DIARY OF DON JUAN with a
disclaimer, stating that he came across the manuscript in his past
life as a run-of-the-mill slush-pile-reading editor. It is an
unnecessary conceit, for he then creates the baroquely erotic and
romantic derring-do of the famous romancer in this, his debut
novel. Previously known for writing books on love, sexuality and
spirituality, with such co-authors as B.K.S. Iyengar and Archbishop
Desmond Tutu, Abrams concocts the life of Don Juan in diary entries
that are befitting of Hugh Hefner more than any contemporary
religious figure of note.

The self-consciously drawn tales of the lover's exploits --- from
his inauspicious start adopted by a nunnery, where, in his
prepubescent years, he found his first love with a young novitiate,
to his passion for women in all walks of life, shapes and forms ---
are enhanced by Don Juan's dramatic run-ins with the
Inquisitor.

In the 1500s, Seville, and all of Spain for that matter, was held
captive by the constant specter of the Inquisition, and it is this
debauched and evil fury that truly defines Don Juan's life journey.
It creates an exciting and colorful backdrop for the lustful and
ribald tales that explain his every possible indiscretion with some
well-meaning lady of the times and keeps the reader from getting
bored with the shady and cryptic love scenes, which read like
purple prose for the newly initiated.

THE LOST DIARY OF DON JUAN gives readers exactly what they would
expect from a book with so literal a title. But it is Don Juan's
life as a spy and heretic that makes Abrams's debut worthy of
attention.

In these devout and politically correct times, it's interesting to
see such a book make a big splash --- after all, it's not exactly
family values to be going around seducing and bedding nuns and
virgins during the Inquisition. But, in some ways, it is the
perfect time for such a read. Summer is almost here, and eroticism,
couched or otherwise, is an artful passion for a number of American
citizens. Those who like it less Harlequin and a bit more
"literary" certainly will find this volume on its way to many a
beachside during the upcoming summer months.

Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on January 7, 2011

The Lost Diary of Don Juan
by Douglas Carlton Abrams

  • Publication Date: July 1, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press
  • ISBN-10: 1416532528
  • ISBN-13: 9781416532521