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Story of O (Story of O #1)

3.35  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,898 Ratings  ·  1,158 Reviews
The Story of O relates the progressive willful debasement of a young and beautiful Parisian fashion photographer, O, who wants nothing more than to be a slave to her lover, René. The test is severe—sexual in method, psychological in substance… The artistic interest here has precisely to do with the use not only of erotic materials but also erotic methods, the deliberate st ...more
Hardcover, 204 pages
Published 1992 by Ballentine Books (first published 1954)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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karen

i am not going to write a serious review of this book. if you want to talk about why bondage erotica is bad for women or how negation porn makes its readers complicit in the victimization of women halfway across the globe or to sip tea and talk about depersonalization or dehumanization or anything even remotely intelligent - more power to you, but this book bored me so much i don't even care to elevate it or grant it any sort of intellectual discussion. i am really only interested in talking abo
...more
Petra X
The original ending of this book was suppressed because it supposedly objectified women. However, I think the book is very empowering for women. It makes very clear the difference between being submissive as a person and being submissive as a sexual preference. O is a successful career woman who gets her freak on as a sexual slave. We are all hedonists at heart!

The prudish, Protestant roots of society plus the pc attitudes for which feminism is responsible in part, make this a very shocking boo
...more
Casey Wilson
Since my child is currently one of my 2 friends, I will refrain from writing a real review of this book. Manon, when you're living far far away and are much older you should check this out. And when you do, please don't tell me about it.
Emily May
May 13, 2012 Emily May rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: erotica, 2012
I never had any intention of reading Story of O until I was recently asked to review it. I knew I wouldn't like it, that it is not the kind of erotica I usually waste my Sunday afternoons with, so rather than purchasing the whole thing, I instead decided to read the Amazon Kindle sample. That, I'm afraid, was way more than enough. I'm not sure whether the sample starts at the beginning of the story or not, the first chapter felt a little out of place, but then none of what I read really followed ...more
Manny
The most useful piece of advice on literary criticism that I've ever come across is Nabokov's dictum to identify with the author, not the characters. This book is a perfect example. If you make the mistake of identifying with O, it's all a bit bewildering. Why exactly is she interested in being blindfolded, tied up, whipped, and fucked from all angles by a bunch of people she doesn't even know? It seems bizarre and rather distasteful.

The rest of this review is available elsewhere (the location c
...more
Marielle
May 25, 2007 Marielle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, translated
This book is a classic, although people have been a bit slow at recognizing it. When it was written, it was shocking. Today it may still be for some. It's the story of a woman and her lover. It's a story of pain, and an unusual sort- deliberately inflicted and, in some capacity, enjoyed. The book has erotic moments, but it is not fundementally erotica. The author Pauline- a woman- claims she is not a sexual masochist nor interested it, in particular. Rather, the unusual setting is a tool to show ...more
Jennifer
Aug 21, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first most people read this as erotica. However I read it for a psychology class. There is a much deeper story if you read it from a different perspective. Sad, definitely. This woman gives up everything. I don't mean everything in the passive way we use it today. I mean right down to her voice. She only speaks a few times, I can count the number of times on one hand. She gives away her core, her voice and her soul. Just to be loved. And what a silent psychological break she makes to remain a ...more
Kim
This book must have been really something when it first came out, but to me, this was just another one of those unintentionally funny chick flicks. I do realize I completely missed the point of this book, because it just completely flew by me.

I won't go into detail too much but the story begins when O and her lover Rene (I use an Allo Allo! accent here) are in the backseat of a taxi, and O is instructed to take her underwear etc off, walk into a building and let herself be abused and tortured, n
...more
Paul Bryant
Jan 11, 2014 Paul Bryant rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, mentalillness
I did read this some years ago so honesty compels me to list it here. For those of you who haven't yet had the pleasure, I can save you some time. All you need are these few verses from Tom Lehrer - the book itself is much less amusing. I quote them here because it's just possible some of you will not know this lovely ballad.


I ache for the touch of your lips, dear,
But much more for the touch of your whips, dear.
You can raise welts like nobody elts,
As we dance to the masochism tango.

Say our l
...more
Lisa
Jan 06, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While this was one of the most original and mind blowing books I've ever read (and the history behind it is fascinating as well), it is definitely not for everyone, especially the sexually squeamish and the faint of heart. It deals with a sadomasochistic relationship in early 20th century France. It feels very reminiscent of Marquis de Sade's type of literary eroticism, but is a much easier read in terms of language and prose. This book stayed with me for months after I read it leaving me with t ...more
Ana
So one day your lover takes you to a castle, and on the way he tells you to take your clothes off because you need to make yourself more presentable.

Once there, you are blindfolded and stripped of you clothes and made to have sex with a bunch of men you’ve never met before.

You a grown woman and fully functioning member of society agree, because your lover wants you to do this for him and you lurve.

What follows is you life essentially become a porn site on acid. You are whipped and chained and mo
...more
Traveller
Dec 07, 2015 Traveller rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
I read this quite a while ago, and thought I had already rated it.

Anyway, what I still cannot fathom is why a woman would write fiction that so thoroughly dehumanizes women. Even the Marquis doesn't come close,and one could excuse it more from a man. One can only feel sorry for poor Desclos.

On the other hand, I'm possibly missing the point, which might be put across more subtly than it was in 9 1/2 weeks, the point being that if you play around too much with, and slide deeper and deeper into the
...more
Anna
Aug 31, 2016 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Όχι που θα άφηνα την κατηγορία erotica να μου ξεφύγει!!! Η ιστορία της Ο είναι ένα βιβλίο μιας γαλλίδας δημοσιογράφου, που το έγραψε μετά από ένα στοίχημα με τον εραστή της ότι μια γυναίκα μπορεί να γράψει μια ιστορία επιπέδου Μαρκήσιου Ντε Σαντ (και αυτός της το προλογίζει). Μέχρι σχεδόν το τέλος της ζωής της δεν είχε παραδεχτεί ότι αυτή ήταν η συγγραφέας του, και είναι το δεύτερο – λένε – πιο διαδεδομένο γαλλικό βιβλίο σε πωλήσεις μετά το Μικρό πρίγκηπα, δηλαδή πούλησε σαν τρελό (τα γαλλάκια τ ...more
Bonnie
Nov 14, 2015 Bonnie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bonnie by: 1001 Books to Read Before You Die
This story was written in 1954... I cannot even begin to imagine the outrage this novel must have caused.

Taken at face value it’s a strange, odd, and confusing tale of female submission. The main character, known as O, is brought to the château of Roissy where she is taught to be constantly ‘available’ to the men who belong to that ‘elite group’. Like I said, awkward. You’re not given much background story at all so you don’t quite understand the O and why she’s allowing this to happen when she
...more
Anders
Jun 06, 2008 Anders rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the Guardian 4 May 1998:
Dominique Aury, who has died aged 90, was for half a century a pillar of the French establishment. Yet she will be remembered less for her influence on modern French literature than as the key to one of the most celebrated literary mysteries of hte 20th century.
---
Yet in 1994, she admitted that to ... should be added one further title: the Histoire d'O, which caused a sensation when it appeared in 1954. ... The detail is graphic ...

The book was banned and in the furo
...more
Gela
Oct 17, 2014 Gela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading The Story of O,while I find that life style bizarre,I also see its lure. Hear me out, without the many partners, beating,piercing and branding it has it's erotic appeal, if not you nor I would have ever picked it up to read in the first place. Everyone wants to be desired, maybe not at the same level as O. But then again I believe certain events that may have taken in her life is why she became this way. Not saying it's good or bad,may not for be for me but even though on ...more
♥Xeni♥
May 07, 2012 ♥Xeni♥ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ♥Xeni♥ by: Sagi
Thank you to my friend to recommend this to me. I can't believe that I hadn't found this book before! I must have stumbled across it somewhere... probably...

Whilst reading, I had to keep two things in mind. First and foremost that this was a classic. Secondly, that it was French.

The fact that it's a classic bit of literature is pretty relevant. Mostly because when a book like this was written in earlier times, it was incredibly scandalous. Which meant that it would be banned and all other such
...more
Don Rea
Jun 16, 2007 Don Rea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My parents had a pretty hands-off attitude to my compulsive reading, and so in my early adolescence I read a lot of stuff that probably did my developing sexuality no good. Finding this book at a garage sale (I picked it up because I had read of it in /Playboy/, another ungoverned input) and reading it at the age of 13 was likely not to my benefit.

Re-reading it as an adult, I found it interesting in many ways that my eighth grade self could not have, such as noticing the exploration of the bound
...more
carol
Oct 16, 2012 carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults who understand BDSM
Shelves: bdsm, spanking, caning, bondage
I think this has become a classic in the BDSM genre and just about everything has been said about it. This is my second reading. I first read it some years ago and O's self serving masochism and debasement horrified me then. Rene didn't care for her in any emotional sense yet that is what she desperately sought. Rene uses O to titillate and satisfy his sadistic appetite as well as passing her on to others for further humiliation and pain. O can't say no..becomes in need of whatever pain they adm ...more
Eastofoz
Feb 26, 2008 Eastofoz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: erotica, contemporary
An extremely disturbing piece of erotic literature that will turn your stomach a long time after having finished reading. Very graphic. No romance here. It's a frightening story of creepy, sadistic sexual power. Very difficult to rate. If you like reading this kind of story then you could easily give it a 5. I'd still recommend it just to know that books like this are out there but you have to be in the right frame of mind to read it I think.
Antonomasia
A sexual fantasy written entirely in an in-universe style.
So many people on this site don't review it that way, or even take that as one of the possibilities. Almost makes me despair (yet again) at the epidemic of concrete thinking about literature among – albeit not limited to - angry young things. On the other hand, I was in my thirties by the time broadband porn was a significant phenomenon, and I didn't even see online posts by BDSM lifestylers until some time after I'd finished university -
...more
David
Jul 29, 2009 David rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Shelves: erotica
I usually read anything anyone suggests to me, which is how I came to read Story of O.

This is an erotic novel about a young woman's journey into the BDSM lifestyle. While this is not a lifestyle choice for me, I am curious as to why others participate in it, so I hoped this book might give me some insight.

Unfortunately this book did as poor a job of shedding light on the motivations of that lifestyle as it did in creating believable characters. The latter was what really killed the book for me,
...more
Heleri
This is not about sex.

It is about smooth prose that draws lines around your ankles which drag you to the woods. As sombre as that is, you get a feeling the trees are really props and somewhere there's a smoke machine. But you forget, hopefully.

You are O. You will think about love, ego, surrender, abandonment, jealousy, passion. Pain - not so much. Fear - not so much for the riding crop but of the self. You will stagger in your mules to the next leather couch in fear, lifting up your skirt, wond
...more
Charlie
DNF at 68%.

I really wanted to like this, but unfortunately it wasn't for me. Considering I love TPE stories, I thought I'd love this but I was so bored through most of it, I ended up skim reading. I didn't care about the characters, I didn't particularly like any of them and the writing was awkward.

Not for me sadly.
Deny
Давам 3 звезди на тази книга, не защото е за харесване. А защото е книга, която разтърсва. Не шокира. "Шокирането" е за булевардните еротични романи. Не, че в ХХІ век те имат с какво да шокират. "Историята на О" мачка и потиска. Заради нещата, които сами сме способни да си причиним. Заради нещата, които искаме да ни причинят. Заради скритото желание да бъдем притежавани, да принадлежим на господар, който да ни освободи от непосилното бреме на свободата.
Това не е история за садо-мазо секс. Не е
...more
BeeQuiet
May 05, 2012 BeeQuiet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, sexuality
I knew from first hearing of it that I should read Story of O, as I am a submissive myself and felt I would get a lot from it. In spite of its flaws, I did indeed find it fascinating, engaging, and I found myself thinking "Oh what a perfect way to describe it". This is a story of a young woman being shown her true self by her lover. O is slowly drawn into a secret world where she is used by many different men as a tool for their pleasure. She is bound and whipped, and forced to show her obedienc ...more
Heather
Shocking! Seriously shocking! And that, despite all the sex, drugs, violence, etc. that we are constantly barraged by. This book is seriously shocking. I mean it. Things are done in this book that even nihilist sadomasichists would be wide-eyed at.
The author cleverly first draws readers in with risque light trashy novel pornography. Then she turns it up a notch, and turns it up, and turns it up. In this way, she makes the reader complicit in what happens. You'll be unable to put the book down; y
...more
Jessica
Dec 13, 2007 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teenage girls who'd like to read some rather racy french erotica....
....preferably while eating bonbons, cutting class, and wearing snagged-up fishnet stockings and too much eye makeup.

I don't remember anything about this book except that I think it pretty much delivered on what I expected a slightly older, naughty, European sex novel would be like. It is rather ridiculous and actually pretty dirty, if I remember correctly. Plus more hardcore than the leading brand.
Jocelyn Jazmen
Apr 30, 2015 Jocelyn Jazmen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This landmark book was published in 1954, by a mysterious author, who, unlike the authors of today kept such a low profile that no one knew who he/she was until 2004, fifty years later.

Story of O is a tale of female submission involving a beautiful Parisian fashion photographer named O. The story begins when O's lover, Rene, brings her to the chateau of Roissy, where she is trained to serve the members of an elite club. This part of the book was kind of spooky, where everyone wore weird clothes,
...more
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Fifty years ago, an extraordinary pornographic novel appeared in Paris. Published simultaneously in French and English, Story of O portrayed explicit scenes of bondage and violent penetration in spare, elegant prose, the purity of the writing making the novel seem reticent even as it dealt with demonic desire, with whips, masks and chains.

Pauline Réage, the author, was a pseudonym, and many peopl
...more
More about Pauline Réage...

Other Books in the Series

Story of O (2 books)
  • Return to the Chateau (Story of O #2)

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“As a matter of fact," the other voice went on, "if you do tie her up from time to time, or whip her just a little, and she begins to like it, that’s no good either. You have to get past the pleasure stage, until you reach the stage of tears.” 21 likes
“Finally a woman confesses! Confess what? What women never allowed themselves to confess. What men always criticized on them: they only obey the blood and everything is sex on them, even the spirit.” 9 likes
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