Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The fan-maker's inquisition - Rikki Ducornet

"I stink, therefore I am ", says Sade in this interesting novel by Rikki Ducornet. "The world, some time can be known through the body".

Believe me, I would not have bought this book, if not for the tag I saw on the price. It said ,

Original Price Rs 602
Special Price Rs 60
You save Rs 542.

What ? Shouldn't it be 10% discount and the price 542 was there a typo error ? I called the assist and he confirmed the price is Rs 60 !! Hmm, that would be interesting and what kind of a book would it be whose value depreciated by 90% and yet no one wants to pick ?
I generally glanced through the book and the opening line had caught me off-guard. Here it is..

- A fan is like the thighs of a woman: It opens and closes. A good fan opens with a flick of the wrist. It produces its own weather - a breeze not so strong as to muss the hair.

Wow. I remembered some of the great opening lines.. The one from One hundred years of solitude, the one from Anna Karenina ... ( check this for more of them ). I was impressed with the "it produces its own weather" and not necessarily the first line :-)

The cover also said "A Novel of the Marquis de Sade ". Marquis de Sade is one of the most controversial character in the history of literature, and having read few article about him and the anti-social writings during his time, I was curious to read about him.

The novel is about the interrogation of Gabrielle ( the fan-maker) about her friendship with Marquis de Sade, who is serving the sentence at the prison , during the french revelution. Gabrielle had to defend her relationship with Sade and to had to justify her collaboration with Sade on his writing of Bishop Diego de Landa's torturous treatment to the Mayan people and their culture. Beautifully written by the author it gives us glimpses of the life of Marquis de Sade, through the letters written to and by Gabriella ( the fan maker) with Sade and his writings of a novel on the Spanish inquisition, his memoirs from the prison about his childhood and the testimonials by Gabriella. Though Gabriella is able to protect him on his writing on the account of Artistic intentions with the inquisition committee of the revolution, she is not able to escape beheading for her relationship with her female lover, Olympe de Gouges.

Marquiz de Sade recollects his childhood time he spent with his uncles and his library had shaped his character and his writing. He writes ," she told my uncle that I would be a force to be reckoned with". "And what sort of force would that be ?" . "Of nature" , I said. "I wish to be a force of the nature".

Very sensuous and erotic, and very well researched book on Marquis de Sade by the author. I found this book very enjoyable and an easy read. And before I sign off, remember this.. "There is nothing forbidden by nature. All is permitted."
The Fan-Makers Inquisition
Rikki Ducornet
Ballantine Books
212 Pager
Original price Rs 602

PS : I have also found some nice little quotes; here are some

A book is a private thing, citizen; it belongs to the one who writes it and to the one who reads it. Like the mind itself, a book is a private space. Within that space, anything is possible. The greatest evil and the greatest good.

I'm certain that if we could navigate Infinity, the closer we'd get to the stars, the more we would feel at home.

What are books but Tangible dreams ? What are reading if it is not dreaming ? The best books cause us to dream; the rest are not worth reading.


svairini said...

Nothing is forbidden in nature...permissive thought as long as it stays within the realm of the body, don't you think? Is murder, death, killing, forbidden or otherwise?

Brain Drain said...

Yes, but that would be another interesting discussion. Can a man/woman do anything which is not natural ( or not permitted by nature) ?
On the other hand does it have to stay within the realm of (physical) body ? I'm not sure..