Netsuke is a fastener that secures the cord at the top of the sash, which holds traditional Japanese robes together. They became great objects of artistic expression.
The Netsuke in this story is a metaphor for the way a New York psychoanalyst is held together by his beautiful, artistic wife Akiko. It soon becomes clear that her best intentions and actions (or inaction) cannot save a sex addict who says of himself, “And if I am called The Marquis de Sade of psychiatry, what of it? Detested by some, venerated by others.”
The object of Netsuke is a wounded psychoanalyst who views all of his encounters with others as erotic and sexual (including those with his clients). He is like a hungry animal that devours all in his path, regardless of the effects it has on others. Of his counseling practice he says, “I take my pleasure and am sustained by the sorrow of others.” He has an unquenchable appetite for physical pleasure, consumption, and being in control, while simultaneously wanting and waiting, to be discovered, revealed, and destroyed. Desire challenges him mentally and is his constant fascination.