A bold, intelligent, pioneering tour de force.


The graceful, thoughtful, oddly charming, and profoundly pornographic account of a French intellectual's life of extreme sexuality.

Millet is a highly respected art critic and editor in her native France, where this memoir was a bestseller. The nearly complete absence of sentimentality in both her memoir and the encounters she describes sparked a controversy that made this one of the most discussed books in years. In a translation that preserves the elegance and clarity of Millet's prose, we are launched almost immediately into her life of group sex, anonymous sex, serial and public sex. While casually placed in context—this encounter occurred as Millet emerged from her Catholic upbringing; this man became a long-term companion; sex helped her avoid the social discomfort of small talk—this consists largely of a string of incidents that might have faded into mechanical repetition were it not for Millet's power of description and the insight she brings to bear. Millet entered the world of group sex shortly after she lost her virginity at 18, and joined the moveable feast of Parisian orgies and sex parties almost immediately, receiving dozens of men each night. Working in the art world, the boundary between business and sex was indistinct for her, and she would enter a studio to interview an artist and end up staying for days. Priding herself on having been without shame and always available, observing her partners in a way that has traditionally belonged to men, Millet's ultimately anti-erotic memoir will surely be the most blatantly pornographic read many will encounter this year. Lacking the literary tradition of intellectual discourse about sex that Millet writes from (France has de Sade and The Story of O; we have Penthouse Forum), reaction here is likely to be less sophisticated than it was at home.

A bold, intelligent, pioneering tour de force.

Pub Date: June 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8021-1716-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2002

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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