Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Emmanuelle by Emmanuelle Arsan


What’s beautiful is the moment that was nothing and that you have made unforgettable.”

Well what to say here? The dodgy cover should have given me a bit of an inclination, if not the fact that it was a Perennial Forbidden classic. Yes it is racy, our girl E is pretty keen on getting down and dirty with just about anyone, but the structure of the novel is odd to say the least. It begins with classic porn style scenarios, light on logical detail, heavy on descriptions of arousal. I've never flown on a plane where you could do so much in front of so many people - not to mention the presence of the children being a little disturbing.
Landing in Bangkok, Emmanuelle avails herself of all sorts of diversions, one minute she thinks she's a Lesbian, but she's married and faithful because she's only ever cheated on her husband with a man when airborne - yes tis a little scattered. Inside her hormonal brain, the story loses any semblance of time or reality. She vacillates between being out of and in control; she just doesn't seem like a really realised person. Then, horror of horrors she smokes opium and gets all philosophical for pages on end. While some of the writing in this section is rather lovely, it just seems like a massive mood shift and all a bit strange, fear not the ending is suitably debaucherous.
My reason for picking this book up was its inclusion in Helena Frith Powell's top 10 sexy French books list which has certainly provided some eye opening works to date and this would probably rate at the end of the spectrum from my perspective. Moments of delicate prose, but mostly the purple kind.  2 out of 5, you'll never look at tuk tuk drivers the same way again.

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