From Salt Publishing’s new e-novella range comes MARG, the story of a Polish sex worker living in London. Written in a first person diary style, this is a candid and, for the most part, realistic account of sex trafficking in the UK that pulls the reader in right from the very first paragraph.
Our protagonist and narrator, Marg, is incredibly likeable and sympathetic. She’s just like any other twenty something: she has her dreams; studying to be a sports therapist; keen to meet someone special and start a family.
Marg doesn’t work for some toothpick-chewing greaser: her employers are a young, glamorous husband and wife team. The girls aren’t mistreated. The couple go to great lengths to ensure their safety. At first, Marg seems happy. She lives in a staff house with some Romanian girls; all of whom she gets on well with. She makes good money and can work around her studies. She treats her clients with respect and takes pride in her job, viewing it as no different to any other caregiver role.
But something that happened one rainy night in Poland threatens to ruin everything. Marg is forced to make a choice between two very different lives…
Writer Jones Jones does a great job in bringing the sex trade to life in this book. It’s an uncompromising read that reserves judgement. Marg is never portrayed as a victim. Quite the opposite, in fact. She meets all kinds of clients: most are nervous but very respectful of her. One is severely disabled but Marg strives to offer him the same service that she offers every other client. Much soul searching follows: is there anyone Marg wouldn’t provide a service to? How would she feel about being with an Asian man? Or a black man? Or a woman?
As a story, MARG is addictive. You’ll tear through all 120 odd pages in no time, fully invested in this character. A bittersweet realism drives her narrative. You’ll want Marg to win, to find peace and move on in life. For me, the ending seemed a little out-of-step with the rest of the story, offering up a twist that could have been straight out of a 1950s pulp novel as opposed to this defiantly grounded tale. But, on the whole, MARG is an exceptionally well written page-turner and a very strong start for both writer Jones Jones and Salt Publishing’s new Modern Dreams range.