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Spanking the Maid

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  281 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Written early in Coover's illustrious career, Spanking the Maid is an impeccable and spellbinding novel about a master, his maid, and the irresistible ritual that binds them.

A bedroom and a bathroom are the only places where the two characters meet, and every day it is the same. The maid comes to the bedroom to clean. She inevitably forgets something -- the soap, fresh she
...more
Hardcover, 102 pages
Published January 1st 1982 by Grove Press (first published January 1st 1981)
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Brian
One might find this novella base. One might find that base desires and longings, base natural proclivities, base sexual deviancies are not worth reading. I want to Coover all those bases.

This novella is dark, gallows-humor funny, brilliant. Its actors are caught in a perpetual loop - a timeless equation whose therom has been proved in the Master's "manual". Both the Maid and the Master succumb to those maths regardless of the minor props that make an appearance and could potentially alter the co
...more
Praj
***(This review is been dedicated to Paul who always has the sweetest and most encouraging words to say and also has been patiently awaiting the Coover review)**

The tinkling of the chimes crackled through the open door pouring ample sunlight on the lazy mauve interiors. She timidly walked in with her vital office paraphernalia – mops, cleansers, brushes, all loosely hanging in her pockets. The smell of the velvet curtains tightly clinging on to the humidity of her sweaty underwear. Clenching th
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Brian
The only person that can out-Coover, is Coover.

This beautiful volume is bookporn, both in content and creation.

cover

The paper feels like it was made from the trunk of Yggdrasil and cured with unicorn tears. Just look at that richness and how it holds ink.

title

In addition to writing beautiful novels, Rikki Ducornet writes poetry and creates stunning line drawings. It's not fair that someone can be so talented in the arts. Her additions to this book are staggeringly beautiful.

moth

carrot

My favorite:

beltsnake

The first 95 c
...more
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
If you like spanking and you like Coover, you'll like Spanking the Maid. If you don't like spanking, please don't read this beautiful book. If you don't like Coover..... well, sorry for you. If you like spanking but don't know if you like Coover, no matter, read Spanking the Maid. If you don't like spanking but you like Coover, you've contradicted yourself. If you like neither spanking nor Coover, you're not reading this review.
Ian Heidin[+]Fisch
The Bed Stripped, the Maid Whipped, My Eyes Pricked

I should really rate this very brief novella five stars. What appears on the page is both a perfect construction and an exquisite confection, and yet somehow it wasn't enough.

I am not alone in this:

"He goes to gaze out into the garden, vaguely dissatisfied. The room is clean, the bed stripped and made, the maid whipped, why isn't that enough?"

For all of its hundred pages, I felt that I was in the presence of a master (and slave) craftsman. I di
...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
For the entire book: two characters (both with no names), one setting. The characters: the master and his maid. The setting: his bedroom, with an adjoining bathroom. It happens everyday: the maid comes in early in the morning, with her cleaning paraphernalia (a mop, bucket, soap, etc.), the master either still in bed or already in the bathroom taking a pee. The maid would sometimes accidentally see his morning erection, sometimes while he's still in bed as she pulls off the blanket, sometimes in ...more
Nate D
Rigorously arranged repetition/variation (perhaps heavier on the repetition) around a maid, a master, and the solemn act of chastisement that binds them. What would otherwise be the entry point into some kind of obviously c-grade erotica, is here entirely altered by form, the relationship less erotic than mathematical, or really most of all linguistic. This is a book about semantic relationships, about puns, about obscure but insistent game rules (ie society ie religion ie morality ie ____) exce ...more
j. ergo
I got this in the mail when I was about halfway through Coover's first book of stories Pricksongs and Descants, which is amazing and I should be finishing soon, but also quite long for a short story collection, at almost 300 pp., and a bit of a roller coaster as well. It feels as if he had quite a load of ideas ready to go, and at the same time didn't hold anything back, possibly thinking he might not get another chance. Having read several of his books, I find this sort of hard to reconcile. As ...more
knig
Well, now I've seen everything. Slap n tickle surrealisticated, taken away from the Great Unwashed and artsy farstsified so the pretentious middle classes can quaff it publicly with Sancerre and no shame. Stylised to within an inch of its life, but its rictus dejuiced in the bargain: a dry heave, what ho!
Ted Burke
Robert Coover is one of the most interesting writers from that generation of meta-fictionists--he is what I think of when I think of a writer taking apart a narrative strategy and making the parts fit in new and maddening ways. Spanking the Maid was deliciously skewed where Robert Coover retells, reshapes, reformulates a hackneyed seduction scenario which adheres, in all the twisting and colorations, to the classic line of erotic writing; the excitement isn't in the getting , but in the anticipa ...more
Marc
A quick read, but fun and sharp. I loved the collapsing time and the objects appearing in the bed. Only bad thing would be that it reminded me a little too much of Alasdair Gray's (bigger, darker, more ambitious, and also very funny) 1982, Janine, but it wouldn't be fair to hold that against Coover. Janine are strongly recommended, though, if you enjoyed this one.
Jon
Only slightly less disturbing than "The Babysitter." I sometimes confuse Coover with Barthelme and then I think about how he hired those guys to mug Dan Rather and while they were beating him up they kept saying "what's the frequency Kenneth?" and then REM wrote that song that also makes me think of that other one they wrote, "Everybody Hurts" and then I just get bummed out and look out over a pond or something.
Josh Friedlander
Linguistic splendour spread over a dark, sadomasochistic tableau. Every time this simple dreamlike story recurs, like Charlie Brown kicking the bull pizzle, some details are distilled into painful clarity, while others fade away. Puns and verbal flourishes are privileged; form over function. This is fiction for the world of dreams.
Balente1978
Premessa: da sempre divoro i libri di Coover, e mai ne sono rimasta delusa.

“Sculacciando la cameriera” è un racconto lungo, con due soli protagonisti.
L’attempato padrone di casa e la giovane cameriera.
Ed anche i luoghi sono sostanzialmente due: la camera da letto ed il bagno.
Con l’aggiunta, sporadica ma preziosa, del giardino.
Non vi racconto la storia: è di una brevità così perfetta che vi rovinerei la lettura.
Però posso anticiparvi cosa vi aspetta.

Vivere, nel pieno senso della parola, no
...more
Cynthia
Cute. The first time I read this, I totally missed the point. Duh. This time, it was almost sad to see that the Master was just as obligated to his "rules" as the maid was to him. Never thought of this dynamic in this way. Recommended read.
Professorjames
This is a fascinating exploration of the eternal Spanker's 'affliction' as it is portrayed, to repeatedly thrash, whip and strap the quivering upturned bottom of his desperately loyal maid and servant.The romance that curiously unfolds is both tender and vicious, and this is just how it should be according to this philosophical dance that embraces Spanking and dependence on the sweet surrender of the maid. The question of who is truly in control is teased out from the pages of delicious writing. ...more
Karishma
This book reminded me repeatedly of the movie, Secretary, the other whimsical, moving S&M story I know of. (Yeah, not you, never you, Fifty Shades!)

I'm not quite sure I've understood it but I tore through this slim volume in less than half an hour, and I find myself reading it with a smile on my face. Imagine getting stuck in a spanking loop, yeah, the same scenario plays out over and over between Master and Maid, in his bedroom and bathroom. And as porntastic as this situation would otherwi
...more
Conceicosta
I think its a great story about two obsessed people (the master and the maid) that want to be perfect. The master should impose discipline to her maid in order she will become perfect. The maid accepts all the terrible things the master does to her because she also wants to be the perfect maid. She is not afraid of him, she wants challenge him as much as he wants correct her, treating his improper behavior as "normal"; it is a story about co-dependence, the rituals of all relationships and the s ...more
Michael
Repetition doesn't kill the soul, it spanks it into awareness.
Wyatt
There's something nice about coming across a book and then suddenly realizing you've read the author before but like him/her better then second time around. That just happened to me with Danilo Kis and that's my experience with Coover now. His book, the Universal Baseball Assoc. was an interesting idea, but I couldn't actually get through to the end. Spanking the Maid is nice and slim so the circularity of the novella doesn't have time to ware on you or make one feel like they're lost in the act ...more
John
Jun 12, 2008 John rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who like a challenge
This one strikes me as the best, the most brilliantly incisive, of all Coover's toying with genres and their cliches -- and the zippy and often hilarious reiterations in this novella poke fun (to use an irresitable pun) at Victorian pornography. Coover takes the stern Master and submissive Maid through one fine spanking after another, in which the abuse is always skewed away from anything like actual titillation or simpleminded politics. Yet this brief dry-humored dream winds up exciting the hig ...more
Julian Darius
This experimental novella has almost no plot, yet is enthralling. Scenes repeat again and again, altered each time, and words take on new meanings with each permutation. The result is a compelling psychological study that, unlike most experimental works, remains immediate and thoroughly readable. It's a wonderful demonstration of how experimental devices can be used in an engaging way -- a way that's narrative, without being ostensibly narrative, and immediately approachable, despite being so ou ...more
wigwam
It's repetitious but in that best minimalist style something else comes to the forefront with each new pass. I liked the motif of his waking up from dreams with a cutesie homonym thing being all he remembers about his dream. The escalation of the titular activity never really added much for me, Oh well.
Martyn
Apr 05, 2011 Martyn rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Not entirely sure
Shelves: fiction, novellas, 2011
I wasn't really enjoying this until I realised that it could be read as a Marxist allegory of the clash between capitalists and workers - then I had more fun with it. Still just about 'ok' though. On to better things.
Goldie
Another one of those books where the writing is impeccable but what the writer says is awful. This work reminds me of Barry Hannah's Ray, which I both loved and hated. For exactly the same reasons. Sigh.
Jessica
Interesting book. The Spanking the Maid theme runs throughout this novel which is quite troubling in places. One must wonder where Coover's imagination moves. Fascinating, but troubling.
Angela
It's perfectly executed for what it is, but again, I'm pretty much over the metafiction. Plus, how embarrassing was it to be reading something with this cover on the subway.
Kristina
Sometimes I think I ought to give up on erotica; with very few exceptions, I don't find it erotic. That said, this was an ok book, not bad, but, not great either.
robert
a harold bloom pick for the western canon. numbingly repetitive and dull. read the same author's
babysitter." It's 100 times better.
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Robert Coover's F...: 1982 -- Spanking the Maid 2 14 Nov 12, 2013 11:52AM  
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Born Robert Lowell Coover in Charles City, Iowa, Coover moved with his family early in his life to Herrin, Illinois, where his father was the managing editor for the Herrin Daily Journal. Emulating his father, Coover edited and wrote for various school newspapers under the nom-de-plume “Scoop.” He was also his high-school class president, a school band member, and an enthusiastic supporter of the ...more
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“Le piccole cose di ogni giorno, le sue banali mansioni, pensa mentre si prepara ai compiti mattutini, le forniranno tutto ciò di cui ha bisogno, spazio per negare se stessa, una strada per avvicinarla quotidianamente a Dio.” 1 likes
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