Manny's Reviews > Emmanuelle

Emmanuelle by Emmanuelle Arsan
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's review
Jan 08, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: french, no-redeeming-social-importance, too-sexy-for-maiden-aunts, older-men-younger-women
Read in September, 2007

I could easily write a cop-out, only-read-Playboy-for-the-stories type of review here. Lot of very interesting philosophical insights, perhaps a bit too much sex, that kind of thing. Fellow GoodReaders, I cannot lie to you. Nothing could in fact be further from the truth. I wolfed down the first two-thirds of this book, which consist of one juicy sex scene after another. Then she met dull, creepy, manipulative Mario, and we got started on the philosophy. I felt my eyes closing. I tried several times to read further, but I just couldn't do it.

I was assailed by horrible pangs of guilt. Ms. Arsan is clearly not stupid (she originally wanted to be an astronomer - I did too!), and she writes quite well. She just happens to be much better at writing about sex than philosophy. But she seemed to have put a lot of work into the philosophy, and it was terrible that I didn't even read that part of the book. I almost thought I'd somehow taken advantage of her.

Well, Emmanuelle, everyone has things they're good at and things they just wish they were good at. I understand that Bertrand Russell's Principia Sexualis was a complete flop, and that he humiliated himself further by unsuccessfully trying to sell the movie rights. He only started to recover a little when they gave him the Nobel Prize. It's possible that that story isn't literally true in every detail, but I really and truly don't want you to feel bad about this unfortunate episode. It's my fault, not yours.
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06/20/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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Brad Heh heh heh! Nice. You crack me up, Manny.

Manny Thank you Brad! It really was a much stranger book than I'd imagined...

message 3: by Ian (new)

Ian "Marvin" Graye I could settle for a life that was two-thirds sex and one-third philosophy.

Manny It's true, both Emmanuelle Arsan and Bertrand Russell had a general air of being fairly pleased with the way things had worked out...

Henry agree, to my shame I thought the sex was sexy and the second half so very dull

Manny So the second half didn't improve then? I still have a bad conscience about this book ten years later...

message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

I had a version with drawings every other page. I am ashamed of my literary degradation; but at least the philosophy part got limited to a bunch of one liners.

Manny There are times when I understand why Robert hates philosophy so much.

Ms. Smartarse I remember having wanted to watch the movies on TV, and planning to sneak out while my parents were sleeping... unfortunately I always feel asleep too soon. Maybe I'll have better luck with the book?

Also, I LOVE that you admit your enjoyment of the sex scenes! :D

message 10: by Manny (last edited Mar 27, 2017 01:01PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Manny Thank you, Ms. Smartarse! I have not seem the movies either, but the book's sex scenes really are very sexy. Now that I consider it, I'm surprised to think how seldom one can say that.

message 11: by Nicole (new) - added it

Nicole Wow! do they publish this in English? I want to read it. I love your book category too sexy for maiden aunts. Funny!

Manny Other people here seem to like the English translation. No comments from maiden aunts though!

message 13: by Elham (new)

Elham If she never writes anything else, it will be your fault, Manny. :))

Manny I looked her up on Wikipedia, and was disappointed to find that she's been dead for twelve years. But the mystery continues... the English page says her books were actually written by her husband, but the French one hints that they were maybe a collaboration "rédigé à quatre mains par les deux époux".

This does all rather remind me of La boutique des plaisirs , another splendidly trashy French novel...

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