No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Thursday, August 18, 2005

#72: Sabine -- A. P.

Purporting to be a tale of "forbidden schoolgirl love in 50s France", this paperback even has faux-aged tattered corners and creased cover, and a suitably pulp-style cover illustration. I picked it up because I couldn't quite believe that Books Etc had a lesbian porn novel* in their 3-for-2 offer: read a random page, and liked the style, which had the same racy, smoke-roughened confidence that I associate (for some reason) with Marianne Faithfull's later writings.

The thing is, amidst all the evocative details -- gramophones, Gitanes, Renoir films in smoky cinemas, and the eponymous Sabine all cool in her rebellious denims at a hunt meet -- this book is not what it says it is, at all. It turns into quite another sort of book near the end, and the change of gear is pretty sudden, quite credible and left me wrong-footed for the rest of the novel. I'm not sure whether the ending is rushed or whether the book just judders to a halt for effect.

I've spent a while trying to guess who 'A.P.' might be. But if I tell you my guesses, that'll give away the nature of the twist ...

*one that wasn't by Sarah Walters, anyway

reposted here from LJ in order to keep all my reviews in one place

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