Driving through a hurricane, Ben Jackson’s wife discloses to him for the first time that she aborted what would have been their first child, that she is a lesbian and that she wants a divorce. Their car then careens off a bridge into the tidewater near Charleston, South Carolina. His wife drowns, but Ben escapes into the murky depths and emerges onto a barrier island in the distant future where civilization as we know it has ceased to exist. He meets a clan of tribalists, the sole inhabitants, whose women control every aspect of society, including which men will be allowed to mate and which infants will be allowed to live.
Ben is embraced by Kita, the female leader of the tribe, who forces him to engage in public sexual rituals. She is intrigued by his circumcision, which makes him unique among all the other men. Kita’s son, Attis, is an outcast of the tribe living on the fringes of the island. Mad with jealousy over his mother’s affections for Ben, Attis lures Ben away from the tribe and rapes him with the aid of a mysterious plant. Later, condemned by his mother and overwhelmed with remorse, Attis atones by committing the unthinkable. He dies, but is resurrected as a god, the god who civilizes mankind.
Based on the Roman mythology of Attis, the ancient precursor of Jesus Christ, The Attis Paradox explores the conflicting goals of men and women in the reproductive process and the bargain men are forced to enter in order to participate in a civilized society. Ben Jackson rediscovers the primal ground of male sexuality, which in its natural state is unbounded.
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