Denis Robert - Happiness (3 stars)

(Serpent’s Tail)


Published in France around the same time as Catherine Millet’s international hit, The Sexual Life of Catherine M, Denis Robert’s Happiness has waited much longer to make it to the English language world. As a married writer starts an affair with a woman ten years his junior, their lives become almost insignificant next to the constant sexual shocks to the nervous system.

Written in a sparse matter of fact manner with the girl’s observations on the left hand side of the book and the man’s on the right, at the same time there are statements that have a page to themselves that strictly speaking could belong to either of them as they dissolve into the possibilities of the sex act. Robert’s book is aptly a brief, intense experience that can be read in the time it takes for an afternoon liaison.

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