Mar 24, 07
Read in October, 2000
Aside from the fact that Les Liaisons Dangereuses has a tight, efficient plot and well-constructed characters, what's most impressive about it is how well it works as an actual epistolary novel. Instead of Clarissa writing for 18 hours a day, what we have hear are short (1-2 pages, sometimes less) letters, of the length that people might actually write to one another, and multiple correspondences, in order to keep the story fresh and told from multiple perspectives. In addition, the letters become part of the story itself; letters turn up as pieces of evidence against certain characters, etc. This is the novel that inspired the films Dangerous Liaisons, Valmont, and Cruel Intentions, and it's very bit as saucy and nasty as those movies. Indeed, the dialog (in letter form) is among the most clever you'll ever find in a novel. This is one of my all-time favorites.