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In the Cut

3.19  ·  Rating Details ·  1,690 Ratings  ·  217 Reviews
A stunning, erotic thriller by the bestselling author of Whiteness of Bones. Following the gruesome murder of a young woman in her neighborhood, a self-determined woman living in New York City--as if to test the limits of her own safety--propels herself into an impossibly risky sexual liaison. Soon she grows increasingly wary about the motives of every man with whom she ha ...more
Hardcover, 179 pages
Published October 17th 1995 by Knopf (first published 1995)
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So with the lamps all put out, the moon sunk, and a thin rain drumming on the roof a downpouring of immense darkness began.
To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf

After finishing IN THE CUT- I set it down and thought for a moment...Did that really happen? I picked it up again and re-read the final pages...Yes, yes, it really did. I should have known...there were many clues given- I felt like I had been punched in the gut, and that feeling lingered over the next couple of days. This story will stay w
In the Cut was made into a movie just a scant few years ago by artsy feminist director Jane Campion, with Meg Ryan the all-American girl trying to pull the mid-life star comeback and the sexy image-changing turn (with Oscar-bait glum acting chops and the requisite nudity) in the role of the language scholar and teacher who succumbs to the pull of the seamy side of NYC. Shades of Looking for Mr. Goodbar, perhaps.

The book, in a nutshell, is about a divorced English teacher in New York, (Frannie in
Jun 13, 2007 Ken rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In The Cut was a quick read. It kept me turning the pages, wanting to know what would happen. The main character intrigued me at first. And that's about as close as I can get to praise for this book.

If you can stomach gruesome, twisted violence and enjoy analyzing it on a symbolic or literary level, then you may appreciate this book more than I. I don't think this book had anywhere near enough to say, however, to justify its sickening level of brutality.

At its heart, this is a mediocre whodunit.
Susanna Moore's In the Cut is a strange and lucid thriller, vividly atmospheric, feverish and oppressively sinister. Frannie is a linguist and teacher, divorced and living alone in New York; she teaches creative writing to disadvantaged but gifted students and is also compiling a dictionary of local slang, excerpts from which pepper the narrative. At the beginning of the story, she goes to a bar with a male student - an act she feels uncertain about from the start - and, while looking for the to ...more
Dec 10, 2011 Vanessa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
I picked this book up out of sheer perversity. Since this is billed as an erotic thriller, I should probably elaborate. Come closer, won't you?

So, the movie they made of this book. It has a good pedigree: interesting actors like Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Jason Leigh star (also starring but not very interesting is Meg Ryan) and Jane Campion directs. It's terrible. It's ludicrous. It is compellingly watchable in its awfulness like a grittily rendered "Showgirls." It's been airing on the cable late
Dec 07, 2009 Trish rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-i-hated
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Another great warm weather porch read. I read this in one day.

I knew about Jane Campion's film adaptation before I knew In the Cut was a book - Meg Ryan playing the titular woman, involved in an affair with fine-ass Mark Ruffalo, as a detective/maybe serial killer. Luckily it had been awhile since I'd seen the film, because as it goes, the book is way better.

Our protagonist, Frannie, is an english teacher obsessed with slang. She's smart, cool, confident - the kind of woman that many women would
Alistair Cross
Nov 22, 2012 Alistair Cross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in one sitting (just now, actually) so that must mean I liked it. It's strange though. That's not a bad thing, really, it just isn't quite like anything I've ever read before, and I can't quite figure out what to think of it yet.

What impressed me most, probably, was the writer's ability to convey a protagonist who was searching for something without seeming to consciously realize that anything was even missing. Interesting, that... and well done.

To me, this is a story about trus
Mar 04, 2008 Stacey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like reading good sex...
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sabrina Robinson
Sep 02, 2007 Sabrina Robinson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-suspense
I liked the raw sex scenes. That pretty much was the whole appeal for me.

Update- I just reread this and even the sex scenes weren't that good. I think the author was trying to hard to be artsy. In my reread I got the impression the author was trying to make the main character seem cerebral and deep but it just made for disjointed dialogue and forced interactions. I couldn't finish it the second time.
Jul 24, 2007 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lokiec
Very strange book. Moore seems to hate her characters as much as Scott Smith hates his...she has no compassion for any of them and, as such, anything goes. The end is easily the most disturbing ending of any book I've ever read (Hollywood ditched the ending for the movie), sorta reminiscent of Blair Witch (in terms of making you say "holy crap, did that just happen?" vs supernatural). Not for the faint of heart.
Dec 03, 2007 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
This is a sort of Looking For Mr. Goodbar-come-lately story about an ostensibly tough, sexually confident woman who likes to Sleep With Danger and becomes entangled with a sadistic murderer. Although atmospheric and sexually provocative, at heart this is really a damsel-in-distress-meets-serial-killer story that isn't particularly innovative or surprising.
Lisa Greer
Feb 16, 2008 Lisa Greer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
this book is amazing and one that many probably haven't read. I stumbled upon it in the library one day. It haunted me for days. Things aren't always as they seem in matters of love, sexuality, etc. The ending is haunting.
Oct 24, 2007 Vinessa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dark, disturbing, tight edgy writing. Have reread it at least four times. Great opening...tells the whole story without giving anything away...unexpected ending.
switterbug (Betsey)
The ethereal writing of Moore reminds me of a female James Salter--a purposeful detachment that conveys the protagonist's (Frannie's) detachment from her own life. Startling ironies hint at Frannie's personal tragedies--accumulated and melancholied--heaped in a corner of her heart and cresting to bleed out onto the pages. It is this prose that creates a vivid depth of feeling and a taut, fresh, exciting rigor of momentum.
Frannie is a scholarly woman--a linguist and a Creative Writing professor
Oct 13, 2009 Nicola rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I first read In the Cut, I was swept up in its surface pleasures: the protagonist, Franny moves through seedy parts of New York City, but there’s a dark wonder to every scene; the poetry posted on the subway forms the backdrop to her story, as if it were placed there especially for her. As a teacher and writer, she rolls words on her tongue, obsessing over etymology, even dividing words into ‘good’ and ‘bad’. It’s a wonderful world in which to immerse yourself. All of Franny’s experiences – ...more
Nov 26, 2009 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked her voice. A lot. But I'm still trying to figure out how this story is different from all the crap that lets rip with a strong female character, who has a dark sense of humor/fantasy that can't quite fight loneliness, a wide circle of friends across all kinds of tracks, and Lucite heels. And ends up dead after using "bad judgement," aka too much (intellectual) curiosity. This one @ the hands of a particularly fetishised Puerto Rican cop. "Mr. Goodbar" comes to mind, tho it was more since ...more
I couldn't figure out if this was intentionally offensive. God, the racist terms, and this ethnic group does this, and that ethnic group does that. And I couldn't figure out if the feminist stuff here and there was actually feminist or just a load of crap.

I liked the writing, at least.

But I was nearing the end and I was frantic because there didn't seem to be enough pages to finish the story.

And there weren't.
May 29, 2007 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction
I tore through this really quickly. It's probably not for everyone, but the combination of spare prose, precise language, graphic sex, and cooly observed violence really worked for me. Definitely worth reading, even if you've already seen the movie.
La Mala ✌
Uno de los finales mas escalofriantes que leí en una novela de misterio . Estuve varias horas dándole vueltas en mi cabeza y todavia no puedo sacudirme la sensación que me dejo .
Travis Fortney
I can imagine just how the process for dreaming up this story must have started, and Susanna Moore deserves kudos and praise for following her imagination down that particular rabbit hole.

(The rabbit hole in question, by the way, goes something like this: Author is kind of lying around her airy, light-filled NYC brownstone one afternoon, and a thought occurs to her--I wonder if anyone has died while having sex--and this causes her to consider the way they would be most likely to die, and that i
Gloria Cangahuala
Sep 02, 2013 Gloria Cangahuala rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Susanna Moore book, and I picked it up because of all the hype about it when it first came out. I found the book to be a darkly entertaining erotic mystery. Moore has quite a way with descriptions, her language at times humorous, her imagery vivid. Yes, there is raw sex in the book, and yes, Moore minces no words when it comes to crude references to sex and sexual acts. None of that bothered me, though. What did bother me was the ending. I winced at the prolonged brutality of i ...more
Aug 17, 2010 Lowrha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took a long, frustrating Chinatown bus ride for the first few chapters of this book to grasp my attention, but I'm glad it was the one I had with me. Moore suspends a dreamy, transitional mood that mesmerizes me. Her comments on the similarity between memories and dreams stick with me and help define what I mean--I feel parts of the story could have been from a book I read or a dream I had. I'm partial to books with writer protagonists, and the scattered notes on words throughout the book are ...more
Deborah Edwards
Aug 16, 2008 Deborah Edwards rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Maureen
A book as gorgeously crafted as it is tremendously disturbing. This teacher with a dark side tells us right from the start that she is doing something she knows she should not do and that her story will deal with irony and realism. Knowing that, we let her lead us into a brutal but tempting world of ironic twists and realistic hard edges that surround every new encounter or ominous remark, and every strangely erotic act or brush with kink. And through it all she expounds so brilliantly on litera ...more
Some books while a good read lack a certain something I couldn't even begin to say what it is that In The Cut is missing but it in my opinion lacks a je ne sais qua.

Having said that I still enjoyed this book. It's sad lonely and despite the protagonists brains and all she had going for her she seemed so lonely. Lost trying to fill a void that she didn't even know was there.

I skipped a couple pages and it didn't make any difference. For a short read it packs a lot in and while there is a lot of
Christina Rau
Jan 04, 2012 Christina Rau rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
I thought that In The Cut was going to be about boxing.

In The Cut by Susanna Moore is an erotic thriller. It does not involve a boxer of any kind, not even canine.

I was not expecting the main character to be a Creative Writing college professor who has an affinity for street slang. I was not expecting a very detailed description of a blow job in the first few pages. I was not expecting a very detailed description of bloody dismemberment anywhere in the book. Between sex and violence came storyli
Joe Stamber
For a relatively short book, In the Cut has a lot of talking, most of which is nonsense. The conversations are verbal tit-for-tats, quick-fire with unanswered questions interspersed with the odd rambling monologue. Moore seems to be aiming for a dark and grubby noire feel, achieving it to a point but at the expense of confusion. There is a thin story thread involving a murder that doesn't go anywhere until the end, but other than that it all comes over as a bit random. One thing for sure is that ...more
Impressionistic skillful portrait of New York, but nothing much at stake.
It's this special brand of writing, where external details are thrown your way but there is no insight to the character's actions, desires, reactions to life happening to them. They describe they're falling down, vomiting but do not say how they feel. You're left to infer it all and you watch small things unfold, not really knowing why or how or whether we should even care.
The characters are neither likeable nor unlikeable
Jen Klug
Oct 13, 2013 Jen Klug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the book because I couldn't get the movie out of my mind - not necessarily in a good way.

Now I can't get the book out of my mind - not necessarily in a good way.

This is what I loved, though: The narrator is completely addicted to words. She's *enchanted* by words. So much so that she'll stop herself in the middle of her story to comment on a particular word or phrase and whether or not she likes it.

But it's hard to understand why she does the things she does. I'm still sort of baffled.

Jan 28, 2009 Dominique rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the creepiest female soft porns I've ever read (ok. I haven't read that many... but this one was creepy). And beautiful. One of those books that made me feel space (and envy the sex). Not to be read by anyone who needs an ending that will make them feel good.
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Susanna Moore is the author of the novels One Last Look, In the Cut, The Whiteness of Bones, Sleeping Beauties, and My Old Sweetheart, which won the Ernest Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for First Fiction, and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her nonfiction travel book, I Myself Have Seen It, was published by the National Geographic Society in ...more
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