The Naked Flesh (Kozy Book #159, 1962)

Of ol’ Orrie’s three nudist camp-themed novels, this is by far the best, albeit quite similar to the other two.

The protagonist is a fellow named Dutch, your typical Hitt hero type,

a big man, a couple inches over six feet, and he weighed a hundred and eighty pounds. None of that weight was fat. He was all new muscles and bone with broad shoulders and close cut sandy hair. As for being handsome he didn’t know […] Most of the women thought he was a man atthe age of twenty-six and that, to Dutch, was what counted.  (p. 3)

He’s spent the last two years working in Iceland (!), having gone there to escape the pain of his girl, Penny, having gotten pregnant by another guy and marrying him…now he has come back to the States because his parents have passed and left him the 250-acre farm. He plans to fix the house up and sell the land, as he doesn’t want to farm to stay here in Cranston, NY.

Only Penny is a widow and childless now, her drunk husband having tried to take off with the kid and killing them both in an accident. Dutch takes from her what he “should have had” years ago…he is not interested in love or getting back together; he wants to hurt and humiliate Penny for what she did to him.  He does not forgive.

He has also met up with Cherry in a bar, a nude model who talks him into using his savings to turn his farm into a nudists camp, a new fad and craze, with a business guy (aka promoter or even pimp) she knows.  Dutch is too mesmerized by her and we know right off this woman is setting him for something.  But he goes into biz with her and the other guy…and, like the other two books, the nudist camp is a front for prostitution, catering to rich men and hiring hookers to wander around naked, who must be paid for sex.

Now, was this (is this?) true of nudist camps or was this Hitt’s fictional fantasy?  Never having been to a nudist camp or in the scene other than nude beaches, I wouldn’t know, then or now.  I imagine some camps were ruses for the sex trade.

Like the Kay Addams book, Hitt delves into the philosophy of the nudist, who

although not always accepted by society, was a person of firm and decent convictions. They held the sun in the highest regard but they respected it, too. The strength of the sun probed their bodies, brought them pleasure (p. 85)

as if they’re some primitive sun god cult.

Like Nudist Camp, Hitt also discusses how the naked body and sexuality differs culturally in Iceland than the puritanical U.S.

Penny knows Cherry is bad news but Dutch is hypnotized by her, letting her buy thousand dollar coats, squander money away. Penny works the food cart at the camp, naked, because she was fired from her job, but she also wants to keep her eye on Dutch — she still loves him even if all he wants to do is keep hurting her for her sins.

But Penny is the”goof girl” and Cherry the “bad woman” and for a change there isn’t a third woman in Dutch’s life, although he does have some one nighters at the top. We know, in the end, Dutch will see the light, forgive Penny, and marry her, but first he must be burned by the bad woman.

A good read, yet predictable. On the Hitt Scale, a 7.5.

One Response to “The Naked Flesh (Kozy Book #159, 1962)”

  1. […] The Naked Flesh by Orrie Hitt Reviewed here. […]

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