Tuesday, 8 September 2009

That's Not Sexy

Finished Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller a couple of days ago.

Sorry it's taken a bit of time to write, but had to get to the library first to get my next round of books.

Ok...back to the novel. Did NOT enjoy this book. The sheer amount of sex, references to sex, talking about sex....I'm no prude, but it grew rather tiresome.

I realise that at the time it was written, it was quite a groundbreaking and titillating read. The liberation expressed by the author in early 1930s Paris (post WWI, pre WWII) was seen to be scandalous, but just what a staid and reserved society needed. Miller's incessant references to sex, types of sex, the women he has sex with was most likely PERCEIVED as sexy, but to my cynical, 21st-century eyes, it all seems a bit dated and quite misogynistic.

I will say that Miller's descriptions of his friends, girlfriends, colleagues and Paris itself are worthy of a read - faded glamour, seedy bars, volatile moods, strange behaviours. Interesting.

However, Miller himself (and I am sure this was on purpose) comes across as a self-loathing, manipulative, downtrodden, selfish dilettante. His own self-descrption didn't make me admire him, or want to live in that city at that time with him and his equally disagreeable mates.


Next up: Atonement by Ian McEwan.

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