Manny's Reviews > M. Butterfly

M. Butterfly by David Henry Hwang
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
1713956
's review
Nov 03, 10

bookshelves: well-i-think-its-funny, too-sexy-for-maiden-aunts, history-and-biography
Read in January, 2007

There's this interesting sequence in Stephen Fry's The Liar, when the hero, who I think is about 18, is having a frank discussion about sex with another character. He talks about the stuff he used to do with his girlfriend, and is surprised to discover that the other guy finds it weird. It hadn't occurred to him that anyone might think it was bizarre to spread jam and cooking fat over your lover's body and then chase each other naked through the school's corridors. Though, on reflection, it was true that he hadn't heard about anyone else doing it.

Similarly for this amusing and insightful play. The guy discovers after twenty years that his partner is in fact a man rather than a woman. It's supposed to be based on a true story! I agree that this couldn't have happened to me, and, judging from several other reviewers' comments, it couldn't have happened to them either. But I think the point of the Stephen Fry story is that there's more diversity in sexual behaviour than we're generally ready to consider. I am definitely able to believe that what happens here could happen to some people. I'm trying to think if any of them are personal acquaintances, and, you know, I do have a couple of names on my list.

I'm suddenly curious. Is there anyone reading this who's willing to admit to having done something sexual that they've never even heard of another person doing? I'm not asking what it is, and if you answer yes I'm guessing that it probably wasn't disgusting or tasteless, just odd. I'll be happy to take your word for it, and I certainly won't pose any further questions.
_________________________________________

The more I think about this, the more curious I become. If you send me your data, I will present anonymised summary results in a couple of weeks. Just mail me a private message with the heading "M. Butterfly" and the number of things of this kind which you consider you have done. The number can be zero - I'm just as interested in negative data as positive, anything else would be unscientific.

In two weeks time, I will update this review with a table giving the totals, and I promise to keep your number strictly confidential. I won't tell a single person.


2 likes · Likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read M. Butterfly.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Hazel (new)

Hazel Have you seen it performed, Manny? I saw the film, with John Lone; probably not as good as the play. My sense was that the European had fallen victim to his own denial, rather than to the duplicity of his lover.

But that doesn't answer your question, does it? :-)


message 2: by Manny (last edited Nov 03, 2010 10:58AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Manny I've never seen it, not even the film! I should do that. And about denial/duplicity... well, don't they go together? In matters like these, you can only deceive people who want to be deceived, or don't care if they are deceived.

Hm, I wasn't really expecting anyone to answer. But I thought I would ask anyway :)


message 3: by Tom (new) - rated it 1 star

Tom I saw the original Bway production with John Lithgow chewing the scenery and Brad Wong as the actress, and it was a big fat ugly bore. Maybe it reads better than it played.


message 4: by Whitaker (new)

Whitaker spread jam and cooking fat over your lover's body and then chase each other naked through the school's corridors.

Huh-loooo! 9 1/2 Weeks anybody? Ok, so that was whipped cream and other stuff, but still...

something sexual that they've never even heard of another person doing?

You need to clarify: When you say "another person" do you mean someone in your circle of friends / acquaintances or do you include people in tabloids or on tv shows. Because if it's stuff that's never even mentioned in a tabloid / tv, good heavens, I'm not sure what that would be. Not sure I even want to know.


Manny Huh-loooo! 9 1/2 Weeks anybody?

They don't chase each other either. Though that is probably the best scene in the movie.

You need to clarify: When you say "another person" do you mean someone in your circle of friends / acquaintances

I mean that you've never heard of anyone doing, not necessarily people you know! I should add that I watch hardly any TV. Though I do read tabloid papers a few times a month.


message 6: by Whitaker (last edited Nov 04, 2010 02:45AM) (new)

Whitaker Manny wrote: "They don't chase each other either."

True. I guess my point was that I didn't think food sex was all that unusual.

Manny wrote: "I mean that you've never heard of anyone doing, not necessarily people you know! I should add that I watch hardly any TV. Though I do read tabloid papers a few times a month."

David Carradine's erotic autoasphyxiation and all? Gee, that's going to be tough then.

In that case, 0 (and don't read anything into that, please).


Manny True. I guess my point was that I didn't think food sex was all that unusual.

Maybe I'm not doing a good job of describing the scene from The Liar. It definitely comes across as unusual when you read it.

In that case, 0 (and don't read anything into that, please).

Data! I love data! Thank you.

Other people: please feel free to mail me privately.


back to top