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The Sexual Life of Catherine M.
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About the Author

Catherine Millet is the editor of Art Press, an influential Paris art magazine. She has written books on moden art, including a monograph on the painter Yves Klein.

Reviews

In this steamy work, a best seller throughout Europe, the editor of France's Art Press shatters gender assumptions by detailing her rollicking sex life. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Elegantly written and extraordinarily frank... It really is remarkable that a century after Emmaline Pankhurst founded women's suffrage the British establishment still can't cope with the idea that a woman can have tram-loads of sexual partners and feel no regret or remorse... Here is a book so rich in sexual revelation that it could feed five tabloids for a year and still have something left for Channel 5 -- Rowan Pelling * Independent on Sunday *
Millet writes extremely well, describing her recollections vividly, and investing her physical largesse with a queenly magnanimity. Her sensations are recalled with an artist's delight in precision -- Lisa Hilton * Times Literary Supplement *
Millet is the new icon of highbrow pornography -- Henriette Korthals Altes * Guardian *
Edmund White calls this the most explicit book about sex ever written by a woman, and by gum, he may be right... I don't approve of The Sexual Life of Catherine M. But I am grateful she has written it -- Lynne Truss * The Times *
This is the most explicit book about sex ever written by a woman, though it is far from pornographic. Catherine Millet sets about coolly and rationally exploring her insatiable appetites - and she has lived to tell the tale that is the opposite of lurid. It is a comprehensive and elegant performance -- Edmund White
She proves again that Catholicism and filthy sex go together like salt beef and rye * Independent on Sunday *
The author writes like a connoisseur who is perfectly at ease with her subject... A brilliant testimony of a life spent at the sexual front line -- James Harkin * Independent on Sunday *
Readers may find this book disturbing or repellent, but they are unlikely to find it dull. I thought that it was the most honest book I had ever read on the subject of sex -- Rowan Pelling * Daily Telegraph *
Her fans are now citing her as a feminist sexual crusader * Observer *
Millet's achievement is that she curates or, more accurately, catalogues her sexual adventures with no sense of shame or remorse -- Deborah Levy * Independent *
Is this the most original novel of the year? -- JG Ballard * Guardian *
You are amazed at her honesty as you are by her exploits. Some of what she does and says mirror your own thoughts and fantasies -- Marcelle D'Argy Smith * Daily Express *
It is Millet's subversive achievement to describe pleasure for its own sake * New Statesman *
This bestseller shocked Europe and looks set to become controversial here * Daily Mirror *
Her descriptions are laced with a laconic frankness which veers between intelligent reflection and willed self-objectification -- Michael Fishwick * Economist *
Millet diverts the tradition of erotic writing by French women such as Pauline Reage and Alina Reyes firmly into the realm of non-fiction, with this account of her sexual encounters, tastes and unconventional morality... Millet writes extremely well, describing her recollections vividly, and investing her physical largesse with a queenly magnanimity... Millet's sexual aesthetic is a literary one, invoking Sade, Reage and Proust... a work of libertine philosophy' -- Lisa Hilton * Times Literary Supplement *
Millet's implicit mission is to write about her own desire with absolute candour and a fierce refusal to consider her audience's needs or sensibilities -- Kathryn Hughes * Literary Review *
Explicit and honest * Dazed & Confused *
Pornography must have been a challenge, but Catherine M has risen to it in a way that will have Descartes encoring from Beyond... Catherine M writes with the enthusiasm of one who invented multiple-partner sex even though she no longer practises the intercourse that she writes about... Genuine free-love requires a level of trust and honesty few of us are prepared to bring into our dealings with others. Catherine M. might be said to be a genuine innocent -- Ron Butlin * Sunday Herald *
The unabashed erotica of The Sexual Life of Catherine M... salutes the Marquis de Sade in a straight-talking romp through dozens of one-night stands catalogued with savage wit by a Parisian intellecual -- Katrina Dixon * Scotsman *
She has recorded her numerous sexual encounters in disarming detail and an alluring style of cool detachment... They make for extraordinarily compulsive reading. Some may think her honesty gratuitous, others will identify with it and find it inspiring * Good Book Guide *
The investigation of one's woman sexuality is still, by its nature, unique -- Nick Hasted * Uncut *
For those unfamiliar with the female body, it's also illuminating! -- Simon Lovat * Gay Times *
An aloof, gracefully crystilline style as elegant as any French pornography since Sade * Vogue USA *
Graceful, thoughful, oddly charming, and profoundly pornographic. A bold, intelligent, pioneering tour de force * Kirkus Reviews *
The porn most likely to be read by those who wouldn't be seen dead clutching a sweaty copy of Fiesta is The Sexual Life of Catherine M. ... Fine observations and precise prose style... She fits neatly into a category of literary outrage -- Big Issue * Tina Jackson *
An ideal languorous holiday read * Diva *
Do not read this unless you have a wildly satisfying sex life * Sleazenation *
Highly literary, and beautifully, reverently, precisely descriptive -- Morgan Falconer * Ham & High *
Millet's unashamed approach to sex is certainly refreshing and admirable -- Anna Carey * Sunday Tribune *
By reclaiming sexual morality as a highly personal matter outside any kind of political control Millet lets sex take revenge on politics -- Jane Cornwell * Weekend Australian *

Millet, art critic and editor of Art Press, has become a literary sensation in France with the publication of this graphic memoir of some 30 years of her sexual adventures. Millet's "gift for observation" and her "solid superego" are as useful in her career as an art critic as they are in her erotic explorations: her ability to concentrate and observe puts her inside "other people's skins." Comparisons have been made to The Story Of O, but Millet is more in the tradition of Jean Genet and Violette Leduc, whose descriptions of their sexual encounters were not meant to titillate so much as to explore the meaning of the erotic. Millet's "quest for the sexual grail" takes her to group orgies, gang bangs in French parks and other serial sex escapades. Before long, the sex begins to seem utterly routine, in spite of the elaborate staging. Millet and her readers are then free to consider more closely some questions she raises: how oral sex compares to vaginal intercourse; why sex in disgusting circumstances is not about "self-abasement," but raising oneself "above all prejudice"; or why solitary sex is more pleasurable for her than sex with a partner. Toward the end of this curiously graceful memoir, Millet comes close to explaining her need for all this sex: only by sloughing off the "mechanical body" she'd been born with could she experience actual sexual pleasure. While women readers will find much of interest, male readers may have to overcome a certain emperor's new clothes-type discomfort, as they realize that Millet may know more about the male body than they do. Agent, Georges Borchardt. (June) Forecast: Millet's book sold over 300,000 copies in France last year and was reviewed recently in American Vogue. It probably won't be as popular here, given American vs. French attitudes about sex, but it will attract those with a sexual sensibility and a certain je ne sais quoi. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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