When the Whip Comes Down: A Novel about de Sade

Jeremy Reed, Author Peter Owen Publishers $30.95 (136p) ISBN 978-0-7206-0857-1
This hallucinatory, lyrical novel posits that the Marquis de Sade, having survived for 178 years after his recorded death in 1814, indulges his obsessive erotic fantasies in the company of initiates--young men and women--whom he has invited to his isolated country home. This de Sade drives a Mercedes and is familar with the modern world of nuclear bombs, cocaine, AIDS, Picasso's Guernica , Hitler, William Burroughs and LSD. Sade's feverish ruminations on his years of imprisonment, his hatred of conformity and his sexual fetishes are interwoven with the narratives of Jeanne, a prostitute who describes whipping the nihilistic aristocrat; Philippe, a Parisian fashion designer who designs sets and costumes for de Sade's psychodramas; and Stephen, an artist recruited to paint and photograph his host's debaucheries. English novelist/poet Reed (whose novel Delirium re-created the life of Rimbaud) believes that de Sade, who longed to live out the reality of his wounded psychic interior, expressed potentials lurking within each of us. Sade's jolting collision with the here and now exposes the moral confusion and emptiness at the heart of our genocidal century. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/29/1993
Release date: 12/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
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