“I can’t feel my face”

The NYT review of Reynolds Price’s “Arden Spirits,” an memoir of his student daze in 1950s Oxford, includes the below paragraph with a metaphorical punchline of dubious acceptability:

Mr. Price was hardly on the sexual sidelines while at Oxford, however. While traveling in Italy with a friend, he began loitering in the Borghese Gardens in Rome at night, where the “wooded throughways and bushes also converted, almost instantly at sundown, into the central pick-up spot for whores of all gender.” He takes a lover who, Mr. Price imagines, carried “a whiff of genetic memory of the passage of Attila and his Huns through medieval Europe.” Now there, you think, was some face-melting sex.


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