Violet Malice has been lounging full bollock in the sunshine, during the hottest parts of the day, cracking one off every hour or so: it’s the ruddy bloody holidays, yeah! This week she has been cherry picking a short story or two, lapping up all that delicious mind tapas. Committed to finding a bedtime read that gets those glands producing in excess of the average 1500ml of saliva per day, metaphorical legs wrapped right round your mandibular ramus. Violet’s weekly adult book review attempts to answer that chocolate flavoured question: can a good book ever be as Herman Count Van Rompuy as a good fuck?
Magazine title: Sex
Copyright: © 2010 Granta Publications
Magazine issue: 110
Short story title: THIS IS FOR YOU
Author: Emmanuel Carrère
Translator: Linda Coverdale
THE RAUNCH REVIEW: Violet’s Verdict
Quick synopsis: Some sort of raging sex pervert has published a short story in a French newspaper and tells his girlfriend to buy a copy and read it on the train going from Paris to La Rochelle. The story – which is also being read by other people on the train – instructs her to reach orgasm between Niort and Surgères because presumably she’s bored of Slaughterhouse-Five. I know the feeling. Dishonourable discharge in a moving toilet.
Train travel: I am a big fan of the railway and masturbation (mutually exclusive, of course). The word train derives from the Latin trahere meaning “to pull, to draw”. A big engine relentlessly pulling off loads of carriages at speed through the countryside is a pretty sexy way to get from A(vignon) to B(rest). Plus the karzies are quite exciting – much like something from Jackson Pollock’s drip and shit period. There is some debate as to the origin of the intransitive verb masturbate. Some say it derives from some old shit meaning to “make yourself stupid” and/or “to disturb with the hand”. Following the invention of more or less everything, the hand has been made redundant.
I would also like to take issue with the making oneself stupid train of thought – I think our little friends serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin have tampered with the ball. You can’t make it taste that good if you don’t want us to eat it. And I certainly don’t come out of the other end stupid. The exact opposite. I find myself much better at exponentiation and domestic science (although I’m out of practice).
So, this short story piqued my interest. Mainly, because it’s very rare to find any sort of narrative written in the second person (you did this and you did that, you mother)! Sometimes (let me be clear, only in very limited sexual scenarios) we all like being told what to do. Obviously, I had to tie up the feminist in me beforehand and lock her in the room with the yellow wallpaper with some hard-backed political tomb to upset herself with. It’s a thrilling concept, to open up the daily newspaper and become part of somebody’s elaborate fantasy. Just like phone sex – there’s something desperately dirty about touching someone without touching them. A meeting in the dark recesses of the mind.
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Overall sexual content: It is massively titillating. In some ways, probably one of the most genuinely erotic pieces of writing I’ve ever read. The voyeurism element is nicely done but a bit annoying. The narrator refers to the fact that he wants to make the object of the story wet (his girlfriend), but also that the other women reading the newspaper at the same time should also be getting off. I suppose it’s a nice idea – some sort of train based wank party – but in reality my taste would be more along the lines of nobody else being in on the fantasy. But that’s probably because, contrary to popular belief, I am massively frigid and my internal organs contract even when just furtively beginning to think about logistics.
He says early on, “From this moment on, you will do everything I tell you to do”. What a lovely snuggly thing. I just hope she’s not on an off day or they haven’t broken-up from final edit to publication. He waxes lyrical about her having a good cum face. He says that most women have no sense of obvious abandonment, but that she – the woman he loves – betrays her cum face all the time during everyday non-sexual activities, such as looking around, eating penne and mountain biking.
Eventually he tells her and everyone else reading Le Monde to go to the bar car and buy a drink (either coffee or mineral water) and look around. This is supposed to be crackingly good bonk material, because obviously loads of people will be looking at each other wondering who SHE actually is, imagining the scores of knickers doing the breaststroke and all those hard-ons knock knock knocking against nylon.
Finally, he describes another woman who goes to the nearest toilet to masturbate. He describes her watching her own fingers disappear into her pussy in the mirror as she steadies herself (train movements as opposed to the thrashes of orgasm). The final few paragraphs I find terribly boring – he doesn’t describe the state of the toilet – which I think is a crucial detail. His description of this other woman wanking is so bloody boring that it near on shuts off the whole grid.
He climaxes with her almost crying out in ecstasy – desperate to shout YES, but afraid that the other people waiting for a shit and/or wank might hear. This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. I can barely type: disappointment. This is definitely not sexual fantasy material. I’m just spit balling here, but if this was my fantasy I would at least have her flooding the cubicle and then being plunged by the guard before you can say “look before you alight”.
Overall conclusion: 8 out of 10.
Titillation station: It did buckle my tracks for a bit. Mainly the first few station stops. Gets really boring towards the end, basically because the train slows down rather than speeds up. So I just got up and cleaned my oven, which I had been meaning to do for ages.
Food for thought: I think this dude might have been so worried about careering over that fine line between misogyny and fantasy, perineum and anus, that he fucking bottled it. It’s a real shame as it could have been the erotic equivalent of the Lake District (around number twelve of the seven wonders of the world). It’s also a shame that he more of less ignores everyone else on the train except the hot women. He’s waiting for her on the platform at the end – 100% confident that she has already gotten off.
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