Book Review: Monsieur by Emma Becker

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Book Review:

Monsieur by Emma Becker

12.22.2012

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

monsieur

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Category: Adult Erotica, Drama

Author: Emma Becker

Format: Trade Paperback, 376 pages

Publisher: Constable & Robinson

ISBN: 978-1-78033-476-9

Pub Date: October 31, 2012

Intended for 18+, mature readers only.

Explicit sex and sexual language, erotica.

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Monsieur by Emma Becker will strangle you into its story of erotic passion that started as a young woman’s naive and rebellious curiosity that slowly and thickly becomes a lethal, emotional, and lustful obsession.

It’s a story of 20-something-year-old Ellie, a “nymphet,” of who she describes in the fictional work, “Lolita” by Nabakov—the title, too, is the opening sentence of the first chapter of the book, which should elicit or at least allude to the passion and erotica to come in the novel (no pun intended—well… maybe a little)—and her all-consuming affair with her married lover, a man twenty-five years her senior who she affectionately refers to as, Monsieur.

And while the name in itself, “Monsieur,” denotes a sense of maturity, propriety, or even a formal politeness or regality; the character referred to as “Monsieur,” is anything but (again, no pun intended and yet, you will need to read the book to understand exactly what I mean—the word “arse” is not only repeated numerous times in the text, but is a focus of delight and fascination by the perverse and lustful character of Monsieur).

This is no light romance of youthful fancy and sentimental imaginings. Readers of innocent and inexperienced youth, the blushing, shy, and embarrassed prudes of moral superiority and those who detest or fear sexual deviancy should not read this book. The context of Monsieur and Ellie’s affair is sordid, crude, and highly brazen. Like the book. Like the narrative.

But, it’s no simple piece of pornographic literature or smut either, though you might think so when first coming across such loud and filthy words in your reading like “cunt,” or “cock.” And trust me when I say, there’s a purpose to this language in the book. It’s at the centre of its context—as well as the style and source of its characters’ torturous affair.

The language of the book (and its couple) is brazen and unashamed, while the sex acts are primal, deviant, and cruel. But, it’s the source and expression of their arousal. It’s what connects their commonality, it’s the fuel to their egotism, and their secret vice.

But the perversity and cruelty of their sexual style is minimal in comparison to the emotional cruelty Ellie is compelled to face. I say “compelled,” because for her, her desire for Monsieur is indeed a compulsion. A choice in which she readily hungers for and chases regardless of indignity or abuse.

And while you could say Ellie’s sensuality or sexuality in some sense eventually blossoms, it does not, however experienced, ever allows itself to emancipate. It’s her desire to be dominated and enslaved that drives her to harsh, self-deprecating, sexual acts as commandeered by her beloved Monsieur.

And when I say “beloved,” I mean that as well, for he becomes that, too: a paternal tyrant, a sexual connoisseur, a physical and haunting catalyst and form for her viscous commitment and adoration.

And even though the language can be brutal, the narrative, too, becomes such a visceral thing in both the characters’ display and extreme enjoyment and pleasure in it—with also direct quotes and references from erotic literature—that it becomes, too, a hybrid of crass audacity and almost indulgent, passionate poetry.

It is a fierce novel of the inner workings (and blatant, graphic detail) of a relationship centred on rough and hard, primal sex, and the taut and unrelenting imbalance and force of power.

And as the constancy and safety of the relationship begins to deteriorate, the strength of its lure and addiction becomes even more potent and destructive.

The irony here, is that while the relationship is dangerously painful and unhealthy, the crux of its most potent cruelty is in its delusional and yet undeniable bewitching form of twisted love.

It is a titillating book (in more ways than one), erotic and candid, yet despairingly emotional.

It’s a dysfunction of senses, an over-stimulated map of one woman’s journey through lust, passion, hunger, obsession, self-loathing—and complete submission and wholehearted self-offering to the man she loves.

It will make you weep as one does in the act of passionate lovemaking, heightened arousal, and potent orgasm—and at the core of painful misery that the heart hungers to endure at the mysterious power of passion.

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Zara’s Rating

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A special thanks to E.B. of the publisher, Constable & Robsinson for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an unpaid, honest review.

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What key ingredients are necessary for a relationship to become and stay romantic and loving?

What do you think compels someone to tolerate and yearn for an obviously abusive and destructive relationship instead of a healthy one?

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