Lisa's Reviews > Tropic of Cancer

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
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A 'classic of erotic literature' that is completely unerotic, this was a strange one for me. I can appreciate Miller's skill as a writer, which comes to life beautifully whenever he is ruminating on art, the streets of Paris and humanity in general, but whenever we came back to the main thrust of the book I found myself underwhelmed and unadmiring. Much of this probably comes from my opinion towards desire as depicted within - it's a form of desire that is either extremely male or individual to Miller in which women are reduced to a nameless, faceless parade of 'cunt' (clearly that's the only important part of us, the prick...) only of worth when giving a lay or doling out francs or food, and the copious amounts of sex being had is a hostile and squalid battle, not enjoyed due to any attraction it would seem but merely as a way of competing with other men, eradicating the traces of those who came before. I soon started to find it all rather tedious, alleviated intermittently by quite beautiful passages on the environment of Paris, or the paintings of Matisse.

I can appreciate that this book, with it's unapologetic honesty and liberal use of fucks and cunts, would have been groundbreaking at the time of it's writing, but 70-odd years later it's lost it's power to shock and instead left me feeling a little 'meh', as well as infinitely glad I've not had the misfortune of meeting a man like this.

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