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A brief encounter between a married man and a woman from Paris sparks an intimate and erotic correspondence that becomes a release for their fantasies, obsessions, confessions, and investigations.
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Scott (Blair, 1989) appears to have misplaced his sense of humor in this slight novel, which would more appropriately be titled Men and Women Who Think About Sex Too Much. The unconvincing opening section, ``Christopher Houghton,'' shows Avery in France with his wife, Gillian. He claims they have not spoken in three weeks, and apparently they are not satisfying each other sexually either, since Avery is so excited by the mere sight of a waitress's childlike hands that he must rush to the restaurant bathroom and masturbate. In Paris, a friend introduces Avery to the red-haired Catherine, who inquires about his poetry and then, at another meeting, gives him an inviting kiss. Avery returns home to Melbourne with his wife and begins a correspondence with Catherine, whose letters overflow with silly sexual adventures, including an unappealing description of a young man watching her urinate all over herself in a bathtub. The following third of the book is narrated by Sorel Atherton, whose husband, Chris, has suffered a stroke. When Sorel reads the manuscript of his recent novella, she finds to her horror that Chris (a.k.a., Avery) has thinly disguised their recent trip to France--i.e., the book's first section is the novella in question, Sorel is the real Gillian, and she now knows that her husband felt an intense dislike for her before lapsing into unconsciousness. Feeling betrayed, Sorel pressures Chris's colleague, Jeremy Fayrfax, for additional information and discovers that Jeremy has been more involved in the affair with Catherine than was initially apparent. Jeremy narrates the third and final section, which provides yet another twist in a winding road of dexterous surprises. It's hard to work up any interest, however. Scott manipulates his characters with the skill of a grandmaster, but fails to imbue them with any distinguishing traits aside from their sexual appetites. Even the eroticism grows tedious. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Scott is a hitherto unknown (to us) Australian writer who has created in this "novel of erotic obsession," as the publisher calls it, an intensely hermetic world. Its story is told in three voices, of Christopher Houghton, a Melbourne-based writer who at a dinner party in Paris meets Frances Bourin, a woman who comes to haunt him by long distance; his wife; and the writer's friend and editor, who loves the wife, hopelessly. Their voices are further merged into a novella the author is writing, his correspondence with the Parisienne and fragments of journals. The effect is that of a hall of mirrors, where only the epistolary passion of Christopher and Frances Bourin seems alive. She is a woman who lives for sex, and he is at once fascinated by and afraid of her voraciousness. Christopher's sudden death, while he is still irresolute about pursuing an affair, leaves his wife and friend confused and resentful. Scott, a master of moods, at times catches a real sense of erotic abandonment and despair. His sketched cityscapes of Melbourne and Paris are vivid and evocative. But despite the brooding sophistication of his style, his tale is really too slight to bear its weight of angst and thwarted passion.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description W W Norton & Co Inc. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0393036839 New store stock. C37. Quantity Available: 1. ISBN/EAN: 9780393036831. Pictures of this item not already displayed here available upon request. Inventory No: 20090625106202. Seller Inventory # 20090625106202
Book Description W W Norton & Co Inc, 1994. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0393036839
Book Description W W Norton & Co Inc, 1994. Hardcover. Condition: New. First. Seller Inventory # DADAX0393036839
Book Description W W Norton & Co Inc, 1994. Hardcover. Condition: New. First Edition - may be Reissue. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory # 0393036839n