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Story of O

(Story of O #1)

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3.32  ·  Rating details ·  16,895 ratings  ·  1,451 reviews
The Story of O relates the progressive willful debasement of a young and beautiful Parisian fashion photographer, O, who wants nothing more than to be a slave to her lover, René. The test is severe—sexual in method, psychological in substance… The artistic interest here has precisely to do with the use not only of erotic materials but also erotic methods, the deliberate ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 199 pages
Published May 12th 1981 by Ballantine Books (first published 1954)
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Average rating 3.32  · 
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 ·  16,895 ratings  ·  1,451 reviews


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karen
i am not going to write a serious review of this book. if you want to talk about why bondage erotica is bad for women or how negation porn makes its readers complicit in the victimization of women halfway across the globe or to sip tea and talk about depersonalization or dehumanization or anything even remotely intelligent - more power to you, but this book bored me so much i don't even care to elevate it or grant it any sort of intellectual discussion. i am really only interested in talking ...more
Petra-X
Jun 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The original ending of this book was suppressed because it supposedly objectified women. However, I think the book is very empowering for women. It makes very clear the difference between being submissive as a person and being submissive as a sexual preference. O is a successful career woman who gets her freak on as a sexual slave. We are all hedonists at heart!

The prudish, Protestant roots of society plus the pc attitudes for which feminism is responsible in part, make this a very shocking
...more
Casey Wilson
Aug 16, 2007 rated it liked it
Since my child is currently one of my 2 friends, I will refrain from writing a real review of this book. Manon, when you're living far far away and are much older you should check this out. And when you do, please don't tell me about it.
Emily May
May 13, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: erotica, 2012
I never had any intention of reading Story of O until I was recently asked to review it. I knew I wouldn't like it, that it is not the kind of erotica I usually waste my Sunday afternoons with, so rather than purchasing the whole thing, I instead decided to read the Amazon Kindle sample. That, I'm afraid, was way more than enough. I'm not sure whether the sample starts at the beginning of the story or not, the first chapter felt a little out of place, but then none of what I read really followed ...more
Manny
The most useful piece of advice on literary criticism that I've ever come across is Nabokov's dictum to identify with the author, not the characters. This book is a perfect example. If you make the mistake of identifying with O, it's all a bit bewildering. Why exactly is she interested in being blindfolded, tied up, whipped, and fucked from all angles by a bunch of people she doesn't even know? It seems bizarre and rather distasteful.

The rest of this review is available elsewhere (the location
...more
Jennifer Benson
Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first most people read this as erotica. However I read it for a psychology class. There is a much deeper story if you read it from a different perspective. Sad, definitely. This woman gives up everything. I don't mean everything in the passive way we use it today. I mean right down to her voice. She only speaks a few times, I can count the number of times on one hand. She gives away her core, her voice and her soul. Just to be loved. And what a silent psychological break she makes to remain a ...more
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Anonymous author grabs her reader by the proverbial balls right before bedtime god damn it

E. L. James should be ashamed. What I'm reading here is pure artistry and I almost wonder if the author isn't writing from experience. It's very difficult to explain these types of sexual and psychological relationships unless you've been in one.

RTC but let me say this...REALLY ANONYMOUS??? What's with that ending?

Audiobook #210 11/20/18
Ninoska Goris
Feb 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018
English - Español

OMG what did I just read? This is horrible and tremendously boring, every time I started reading my eyes closed.

It did not seem erotic, but totally abusive to those who not only accept it, but also yearn for it, demonstrating that it must be a person with serious psychological problems and zero self-esteem.

O, the protagonist, a beautiful Parisian fashion photographer, has Rene as a lover. As he had already told her that he wanted to prostitute her, it does not take her by
...more
Kim
Nov 03, 2010 rated it did not like it
This book must have been really something when it first came out, but to me, this was just another one of those unintentionally funny chick flicks. I do realize I completely missed the point of this book, because it just completely flew by me.

I won't go into detail too much but the story begins when O and her lover Rene (I use an Allo Allo! accent here) are in the backseat of a taxi, and O is instructed to take her underwear etc off, walk into a building and let herself be abused and tortured,
...more
Paul Bryant
Jan 11, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: novels, mentalillness
I did read this some years ago so honesty compels me to list it here. For those of you who haven't yet had the pleasure, I can save you some time. All you need are these few verses from Tom Lehrer - the book itself is much less amusing. I quote them here because it's just possible some of you will not know this lovely ballad.


I ache for the touch of your lips, dear,
But much more for the touch of your whips, dear.
You can raise welts like nobody elts,
As we dance to the masochism tango.

Say our
...more
Lisa
Jan 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
While this was one of the most original and mind blowing books I've ever read (and the history behind it is fascinating as well), it is definitely not for everyone, especially the sexually squeamish and the faint of heart. It deals with a sadomasochistic relationship in early 20th century France. It feels very reminiscent of Marquis de Sade's type of literary eroticism, but is a much easier read in terms of language and prose. This book stayed with me for months after I read it leaving me with ...more
carol
Oct 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults who understand BDSM
Shelves: bdsm, spanking, caning, bondage
I think this has become a classic in the BDSM genre and just about everything has been said about it. This is my second reading. I first read it some years ago and O's self serving masochism and debasement horrified me then. Rene didn't care for her in any emotional sense, yet that is what she desperately sought. Rene uses O to titillate and satisfy his sadistic appetite as well as passing her on to others for further humiliation and pain. O can't say no..becomes in need of whatever pain they ...more
warhawke
Genre: Erotica
Type: Standalone Book 1 of Story of O Duet
POV: Third Person
Rating:




O was a fashion photographer in the heart of Paris. With her lover René, she decided to explore the darker side sexuality. She developed a taste for being used and abused, but how much more could she endure in the name of love?



“Your hands are not your own, nor are your breasts, nor, most especially, any of your bodily orifices, which we may explore or penetrate at will.”


I’ve wanted to read this book for a while
...more
Don Rea
Jun 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
My parents had a pretty hands-off attitude to my compulsive reading, and so in my early adolescence I read a lot of stuff that probably did my developing sexuality no good. Finding this book at a garage sale (I picked it up because I had read of it in /Playboy/, another ungoverned input) and reading it at the age of 13 was likely not to my benefit.

Re-reading it as an adult, I found it interesting in many ways that my eighth grade self could not have, such as noticing the exploration of the
...more
Bonnie
Oct 20, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bonnie by: 1001 Books to Read Before You Die
This story was written in 1954... I cannot even begin to imagine the outrage this novel must have caused.

Taken at face value it’s a strange, odd, and confusing tale of female submission. The main character, known as O, is brought to the château of Roissy where she is taught to be constantly ‘available’ to the men who belong to that ‘elite group’. Like I said, awkward. You’re not given much background story at all so you don’t quite understand the O and why she’s allowing this to happen when she
...more
CC

2.5 Stars



Story of O begins with the protagonist, only known as “O,” being trained as a submissive at the request of her then lover. Consenting to his wishes, O’s life changes as she learns about her deep needs in regard to love, freedom and submission. Treated as a possession, O finds pleasure in pain and the concept of feeling owned.

“And yes, by the way: while it is perfectly all right for you to grow accustomed to being whipped—since you are going to be every day throughout your stay—this
...more
Traveller
Oct 28, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 1001-books
I read this quite a while ago, and thought I had already rated it.

Anyway, what I still cannot fathom is why a woman would write fiction that so thoroughly dehumanizes women. Even the Marquis doesn't come close,and one could excuse it more from a man. One can only feel sorry for poor Desclos.

On the other hand, I'm possibly missing the point, which might be put across more subtly than it was in 9 1/2 weeks, the point being that if you play around too much with, and slide deeper and deeper into the
...more
♥Xeni♥
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to ♥Xeni♥ by: Sagi
Thank you to my friend to recommend this to me. I can't believe that I hadn't found this book before! I must have stumbled across it somewhere... probably...

Whilst reading, I had to keep two things in mind. First and foremost that this was a classic. Secondly, that it was French.

The fact that it's a classic bit of literature is pretty relevant. Mostly because when a book like this was written in earlier times, it was incredibly scandalous. Which meant that it would be banned and all other such
...more
Sidharth Vardhan
Jul 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: europe, woman-authors
If you think about it, we are only part humans. And our sexual instincts still come from our animal part - thankfully, just consider 1984 and Brave New world universes to get an idea of what would happen if we let it be too governed by social values (with exception of consent which is a must of course). That is probably true for feminism too - I am sure I have read somewhere feminists have objections to some of sexual positions and I think that is going too far. If you really want to write a ...more
Roxane
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating, uncomfortable but fascinating and intense book. IDGAF. I loved it.
Anders
Jun 06, 2008 rated it liked it
From the Guardian 4 May 1998:
Dominique Aury, who has died aged 90, was for half a century a pillar of the French establishment. Yet she will be remembered less for her influence on modern French literature than as the key to one of the most celebrated literary mysteries of hte 20th century.
---
Yet in 1994, she admitted that to ... should be added one further title: the Histoire d'O, which caused a sensation when it appeared in 1954. ... The detail is graphic ...

The book was banned and in the
...more
Antonomasia
A sexual fantasy written entirely in an in-universe style.
So many people on this site don't review it that way, or even take that as one of the possibilities. Almost makes me despair (yet again) at the epidemic of concrete thinking about literature among – albeit not limited to - angry young things. On the other hand, I was in my thirties by the time broadband porn was a significant phenomenon, and I didn't even see online posts by BDSM lifestylers until some time after I'd finished university -
...more
Heleri
Sep 30, 2012 rated it liked it
This is not about sex.

It is about smooth prose that draws lines around your ankles which drag you to the woods. As sombre as that is, you get a feeling the trees are really props and somewhere there's a smoke machine. But you forget, hopefully.

You are O. You will think about love, ego, surrender, abandonment, jealousy, passion. Pain - not so much. Fear - not so much for the riding crop but of the self. You will stagger in your mules to the next leather couch in fear, lifting up your skirt,
...more
Eastofoz
Feb 26, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: erotica, contemporary
An extremely disturbing piece of erotic literature that will turn your stomach a long time after having finished reading. Very graphic. No romance here. It's a frightening story of creepy, sadistic sexual power. Very difficult to rate. If you like reading this kind of story then you could easily give it a 5. I'd still recommend it just to know that books like this are out there but you have to be in the right frame of mind to read it I think.
G.R. Reader
Like The Song of Solomon, this is evidently an allegory of Christ's love for the Church. Or so I was told by a defrocked French priest with whom I once had a brief liaison.
Gela
Oct 08, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading The Story of O,while I find that life style bizarre,I also see its lure. Hear me out, without the many partners, beating,piercing and branding it has it's erotic appeal, if not you nor I would have ever picked it up to read in the first place. Everyone wants to be desired, maybe not at the same level as O. But then again I believe certain events that may have taken in her life is why she became this way. Not saying it's good or bad,may not for be for me but even though ...more
Brad
This is the tale of four reactions. The first is to the prose. The second is to the power dynamics. The third is to the erotica. The fourth is to the what the hell is being said.

prose -- I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by Pauline Réage's prose. Admittedly, I read (well ...listened to) Story of O in the English translation, so I do have a little fear that my judgment of her prose may actually be a judgment of the translator's prose (further influenced by the impressive vocal
...more
David
Jul 28, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Shelves: erotica
I usually read anything anyone suggests to me, which is how I came to read Story of O.

This is an erotic novel about a young woman's journey into the BDSM lifestyle. While this is not a lifestyle choice for me, I am curious as to why others participate in it, so I hoped this book might give me some insight.

Unfortunately this book did as poor a job of shedding light on the motivations of that lifestyle as it did in creating believable characters. The latter was what really killed the book for me,
...more
Heather
Sep 18, 2007 rated it liked it
Shocking! Seriously shocking! And that, despite all the sex, drugs, violence, etc. that we are constantly barraged by. This book is seriously shocking. I mean it. Things are done in this book that even nihilist sadomasichists would be wide-eyed at.
The author cleverly first draws readers in with risque light trashy novel pornography. Then she turns it up a notch, and turns it up, and turns it up. In this way, she makes the reader complicit in what happens. You'll be unable to put the book down;
...more
Jessica
Dec 13, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: teenage girls who'd like to read some rather racy french erotica....
....preferably while eating bonbons, cutting class, and wearing snagged-up fishnet stockings and too much eye makeup.

I don't remember anything about this book except that I think it pretty much delivered on what I expected a slightly older, naughty, European sex novel would be like. It is rather ridiculous and actually pretty dirty, if I remember correctly. Plus more hardcore than the leading brand.
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Reading 1001: Story of O 1 19 May 07, 2017 02:21PM  

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161 followers
Fifty years ago, an extraordinary pornographic novel appeared in Paris. Published simultaneously in French and English, Story of O portrayed explicit scenes of bondage and violent penetration in spare, elegant prose, the purity of the writing making the novel seem reticent even as it dealt with demonic desire, with whips, masks and chains.

Pauline Réage, the author, was a pseudonym, and many
...more

Other books in the series

Story of O (2 books)
  • Return to the Chateau (Story of O #2)
“As a matter of fact," the other voice went on, "if you do tie her up from time to time, or whip her just a little, and she begins to like it, that’s no good either. You have to get past the pleasure stage, until you reach the stage of tears.” 25 likes
“Finally a woman confesses! Confess what? What women never allowed themselves to confess. What men always criticized on them: they only obey the blood and everything is sex on them, even the spirit.” 11 likes
More quotes…