Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tarantula by Thierry Jonquet

Richard is a surgeon keeping a woman named Eve hostage in his home. Eve is kept in a room where Richard screams commands at her through an intercom and has her perform sex acts while he watches through a two way mirror. His moods go from longing for her to assaulting her all in a matter of seconds. There is also Mygale...a man holding Vincent captive in the basement of his home, gradually giving him more freedom and then taking some away. And then there is Alex; a young man who has committed a crime and spends his time running. And this is really all I can tell you about this novel. That's all you'll want to know, trust me. This novel has one of the best plot twists that I've read since Sarah Waters' Fingersmith. And that's saying a lot coming from me. You start reading and you can see that the three story lines will come together somehow, but aren't quite sure how exactly. Now this isn't a "nice read." I should warn you of that ahead of time. If I had to describe it with some sort of catch phrase, I might call it a sadist, sexual thriller. There's a new genre. On the back cover, the Washington Post describes it as "an unholy collaboration between Sade and Sartre...Tarantula is a story that invites both respect and repulsion. As a reader, you are happy to have read it and just as happy, ultimately, to close the cover on it's weird world." And I couldn't agree more with that description. It's a short book at just 124 pages, but that's part of the beauty of it. Jonquet doesn't waste a word. The story is expertly weaved in it's few pages and every detail is closely paid attention to. It's written beautifully and I wish I could read it in it's original French to see exactly how the language is, but I can assure you that the translation is done very well. This book is being made into a film by Pedro Almodovar, retitled The Skin I Live In, and I'm ECSTATIC about that. I knew that ahead of time and reading it just painted an Almodovar film into my mind so perfectly. It has that perfect dark, twisted, human, sexual feel to it that Almodovar always capture so well in his films. Films like Bad Education, All About My Mother, Talk to Her, Volver...this will definitely be a gem added to his collection, I'm sure. This book was published by Serpent's Tail Press, which is a new to me publisher, but their catalog is incredible! I'll certainly be browsing it in the future :) Their World Literature section has some incredible looking books and they have quite a few lgbt books too. And their covers are amazing...which lets face it, always wins me over :/ As I said, this book is not for those who are offended by sex or violence in literature. Not for those who are offended by deviation from every day life in literature. But for those who are ok with a little (or a lot) WTFery in their books, Tarantula is a book for you.

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