Written in spare, elegant prose, "The Sexual Life of Catherine M." is the autobiography of a well-known Parisian art critic who likes to spend nights in the singles clubs of Paris and in the Bois de Boulogne where she has sex with a succession of anonymous men. Unlike many contemporary women writers, there is no guilt in Millet's narrative, no ...
Written in spare, elegant prose, "The Sexual Life of Catherine M." is the autobiography of a well-known Parisian art critic who likes to spend nights in the singles clubs of Paris and in the Bois de Boulogne where she has sex with a succession of anonymous men. Unlike many contemporary women writers, there is no guilt in Millet's narrative, no chronicles of use and abuse: on the contrary, she has no regrets about a life of energetic sexual activity. Catherine Millet's writing is a subtle reflection on the boundaries of art and life and she uses her insights on the role of the body in modern art to set the scene for her multiple sexual encounters. A phenomenal best-seller in France, where it has sold over 300,000 copies, and in all the other European countries in which it has been published, "The Sexual Life of Catherine M." is very much a manifesto of our times - when the sexual equality of women is a reality and where love and sex have gone their own separate ways. Like "The Story of O", it is a truly shocking book that captures a decisive moment in our sexual history.
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It is infrequently that I pick up book quickly for a second reading but Catherine Millet's autobiography is one that I know I will enjoy rereading and thinking about for some time to come.
Her self-analysis is penetrating, to the point and never verbose.
It was with some surprise as I read the book I would find it extremely erotic sections. It's not as if she set out to write an erotic story of her life, or create erotic vignettes, but it is generated by the honest and revealing description.
In writing about erotic and sexual matters, a writer can be prim and prissy, or write it like a porn novel. Catherine has written using her own language, her own quirks of expression, and of course borrowed from her lovers words. All of which creates great writing but naturally only can be done once in a book of this style.
I am leaving out the genre of the very unusual books such as the collections of erotic short stories by Anais Nin, which stand as politically incorrect but very delightful gems, being few and far between in the field of erotic writing.
There are those who will murmur about her Catherine Millet's deranged behaviour and self destructive life, ignoring the fact, which she does not labour, that she holds a professional job of the first water.
She chose her personal lifestyle because it thrilled her, and while she was at many times a passive object of lust, she has her friends in the group who watch out for her interests and safety.
A surprising book that makes for parts of erotic, thoughtful, fascinating and new reading.
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