Catherine Millet - The Sexual Life of Catherine M
Author: Catherine Millet
Translated by: Adriana Hunter
ISBN # 0802117163
Publisher: Grove Press
First Published: 2001
The Sexual Life of Catherine M is the autobiography of a well-known Parisian art critic who likes to spend nights in the singles clubs of
Unsurprisingly, this is very frank and graphic in detail, but it's not really what I would describe as pornographic, despite the language used (yes, there are "unsavoury" euphemisms that perhaps aren't considered polite in company). Despite the fact that the author (and protagonist) has undoubtedly had many, many lovers over the years, it's written in such a way that it doesn't seem at all "dirty" in a way that it is often considered with double standards the way they are. Nor did I feel pity, as the way it's presented, there is nothing to pity. In fact, Millet comes across as a strong and independent woman who enjoys experimenting and pushing the limits. It's making for an intoxicating and titillating read!
I found that I could identify with some of Millet's feelings in certain situations, the way she described her relationship with the space around her.
There are one or two uncomfortable moments where she describes incidents in her childhood and early teens that suggest that her sexual life may have been coloured in response to them, but even these are presented in a matter-of-fact style, as if to say, “These things happen, but one moves on.”
Although there are elements of Millet's life that make me feel very sad for her, I also admire her for her unashamed openness and bravery in revealing her inner self like this. I also think that many women might find a small part of themselves portrayed in this book, whether or not they'd publicly admit to it.
This is an intriguing exploration into self discovery and abandonment to the pleasures of the flesh.