13 October 2015

Jean-Pierre Enard (Text), Milo Manara (Drawings): L'Art de la fessée | The Art of Spanking (1988)

In Jean-Pierre Enard's relatively brief life (1944–87) he published a number of books, including Fragments d’amour (novel) (1976); La Ligne de cœur (novel) (1977); Le Dernier Dimanche de Sartre (novel [written a few years before Sartre's death]), Sagittaire (1978) repr. Finitude (2004); Photo de classe (novel) (1979); Avec elles (play) (1980); La Reine du technicolor (novel), Presses de la Renaissance (1980) repr. Finitude (2008); Le Voyage des comédiens (novel) (1981); Le Métro aérien (novel) (1986); Contes à faire rougir les petits chaperons (short stories), Ramsay (1987) repr. Finitude (2010). Un bon écrivain est un écrivain mort (lit. 'A Good Writer is a Dead Writer) was published posthumously by Finitude in 2005.

Enard's erotic novel L'Art de la Fessée (The Art of Spanking) – along with Milo Manara's delicious erotic line drawings to go with the text – was published posthumously too, just a year after the writer's death. The book contains the sticker 'POUR PUBLIC AVERTI', for which read 'Parental Advisory', and as with surely all 'Parental Advisory' stickers this is meaningless in the age of the internet.

Enough rambling. This is an erotic story told in the fashion of the day (the late 1980s) but it is really well written by Jean-Pierre Enard, the narrator mainly being (we learn at the end) Donatien Casanova, and in part Eva Lindt. Donatien (after Sade's first name of course) meets well-known TV personality Eva in the first-class compartment of a train from Paris to Venice, and he's well-versed in dealing with intruders: at one point he tells a woman (with a young child) that the compartment is booked and they're waiting for other members of the association 'Érotomanes Distingués de France': had she never heard of EDF? Well, I'm sure we all have now in the privatised hell in which governments have made us live, but this is enough to leave the compartment free for Donatien and Eva. Which is fine because (as of course in the porn/erotic genre of novels and movies) both are almost absolutely obsessed with sex.

Donatien has initially viewed the girls' asses in the train station in Paris while Eva has (secretly she thinks) glanced at Donatien's green notebook, which contains his writings and drawings titled 'L'Art de la fessée' ('The Art of Spanking'). Well, she's obviously very interested and they have (almost) free compartments all the way to Venice, giving Eva a great deal of time to read Donatien's notebook, which he intends to publish not as a novel but more as an instruction book. And Eva's more than willing to be instructed in a sexual art of which she's unfamiliar, although Donatien keeps her waiting right up to the, er, climax.

And the climax also involves Clara, Donatien's friend who also joins in the sex spree on the train, right into Venice station when all three are at it, much to the glee of the train staff and – much more importantly – the media. Surely Eva's been – certainly not unknowingly sexually as she's all for it, but professionally – had? She must have lost her job, destroyed her TV company, and lost so many people their jobs? Well, certainly Donatien had planned which compartment he sat in, but he's left Eva his book – the book within the book – and he's handed over the copyright, so...

A book to treasure, well constructed in any way you choose to take that expression.

My other post on spanking:

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Robert Coover: Spanking the Maid

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