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In the Cut

3.22  ·  Rating details ·  2,102 ratings  ·  276 reviews
Author Susanna Moore will throw readers headlong into a dark place, where the razor thin line between lust and fear blur in this haunting erotic thriller. An attractive woman stumbles upon an intimate encounter in the basement of a bar. But the man's eyes unexpectedly meet hers, and a nightmare of passion and terror begins.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 31st 2019 by W&N (first published 1995)
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Sam The title of the novel itself is taken from the slang Frannie collects. “In the cut. From vagina. A place to hide. To hedge your bet. But someplace…moreThe title of the novel itself is taken from the slang Frannie collects. “In the cut. From vagina. A place to hide. To hedge your bet. But someplace safe, someplace free from harm.” Moore heard the phrase on one of the first trips she made with the homicide detectives she shadowed for her research, and right away knew it was the title, even before she had a character.

~ from the Guardian(less)
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Average rating 3.22  · 
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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
Linda Strong
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Frannie is a school teacher ... instructing students on how to write. She has a love of words and language. She's making notes in order to someday write a book ... right now she's concentrating on street slang.

One evening she's in a local bar headed for the basement ladies room. She accidentally walks in on a man and a woman during an intimate moment. His face is in the shadows. but she remembers well the tattoo on his wrist. The woman is young, with red hair.

Homicide detectives show up asking
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
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An intelligent slim sly thriller in which you're never quite sure whether the characters are telling the truth. Also an interesting use of first-person narration, especially at the end, which I won't reveal, except that it left me saying: wow.
Dec 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Well, that was certainly... about 180 pages.

Moore's narrator is a creative writing instructor working for a program that specializes in talented, disadvantaged students; she's also writing a book on linguistics, specifically on slang, so she spends the novel collecting words. It suits her--she's acquisitive, curious. She wants access and understanding, but she's there to analyze and obsess, not judge.

Despite her apparently sedate career, she winds up getting involved in a string of brutal
Jun 13, 2007 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.
Abbie | ab_reads
(#gifted @orionbooks) Sex, murder and... linguistics? An odd combination for sure and I’m not entirely sure how well they tie together in this book... I was in the mood for something very fast earlier this week, as being super busy put me in danger of a reading slump! In the Cut certainly delivered on that part, as I devoured it in just a few hours.
Part crime novel, part erotica, the action in this book never stops... except when the protagonist takes a break to muse on linguistic discrepancies
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 ...more
Dec 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
short novella about an isolated woman who becomes involved with a detective who she suspects is shady AF. this book is a lot. the title (view spoiler) should have clued me in but it didn't. this is gruesome & mean but i think that is the point. there is so much misogyny in this story that i could write an essay about women's bodies & what Susanna Moore is saying about power & gender. also, the sex these characters have read as brutal & ugly but ...more
Dec 07, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-hated
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alistair Cross
Nov 22, 2012 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
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
Oct 13, 2009 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
Mar 04, 2008 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 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.
I am honestly baffled as to what I just read, but I, in some way, am totally in awe of it at the same time. I picked this book up from the thrift store (my sissy bought it for me!), and I had never heard of it, but something about it seemed familiar. I still don't totally know what seemed familiar about it because the story was brand new, I'd never heard of the author, nor had I seen the cover. But I'm glad I picked it up, because what a weird and random roller coaster of a story.

I can't even
Nov 26, 2009 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 ...more
Jul 24, 2007 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.
J.M. Lawler
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Incredible. This is one of the most erotic books I've ever read. It is foremost a thriller, but for such a slim volume it delivers so much. It delves deep into vulnerability and irrationality, and the murky terrain between men and women. Moore's observation of the way people talk and react are spot on. Every sentence is perfect, nothing is wasted. Such intelligent, inspirational writing.
Dec 03, 2007 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 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 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.
A difficult book to review. It had a raw gritty feel with bold scenes and graphic words weaved in with the thoughts of the main character.

Frannie, a teacher, came across a woman performing a sexual act on a man with his face in darkness and tattoo on the wrist in the bar. The woman was then found murdered, and a detective came to her flat for questioning. A short affair with the detective was followed by a few shocking revelations.

My first book by author Susanna Moore, the story was shocking
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
Heather *Undercover Goth Queen*
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 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.
Allison Floyd
Whoa! If Joyce Carol Oates, Mary Gaitskill, and Gillian Flynn had you over for cocktails, this is what it would feel like. And you know the cocktails would have bleach in them. Or, in the words of Frank Fontana, "Who decorated this place—Sylvia Plath?" Suffice it to say that it's not the feel-good read of the year. Then again, who turns to thrillers as the feel-good books of any quantity of time? Also, I seem to be a on a ...more
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can see why this book averages three stars. It has interesting, albeit somewhat hackneyed characters and exquisite prose. The thriller aspect of it, however, was meh: the twist at the end felt forced rather than clever. Damn, Moore can write though.
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the tradition of shorter novels like "In the Miso Soup" by Ryu Murakami, this is a brief, violent, graphic excursion into sex, murder, and... a brief dictionary of slang words. I enjoyed it, and even the actually surprising twist at the end.
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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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