The Impenetrable Madam X

Griselda Gambaro, Author Wayne State University Press $0 (149p) ISBN 978-0-8143-2126-3
A notable Argentine-born dramatist who has also written fiction, Gambaro submitted this frolicsome though academic tale to a contest on the erotic novel, sponsored by a Barcelona publisher. In the guise of a 19th-century Spanish farce, the novel features a lascivious triangle: 27-year-old Madam X, her maid Marie, and the gentleman who, having sent Madam a frank love letter (after enclosing a pubic hair in her dance program the previous evening), now paces beneath her window. Madam drops first her handkerchief, which he eats, and then a lock of hair, which sends him, swooning, to the hospital and on to further adventures. More letters arrive, reiterating, in variations, the image of a ship rocking on the waves, a nautical metaphor for the sexual act. The invitations, postponements and sport that involve all three characters are interrupted by pithy chapter headings on the genre and its connection to literature generally, e.g., ``writing . . . is an erotic act between the writer and the word.'' Gambaro plays on the triangular sexual bargain struck by author, text and reader; desire drives the story until it reaches, after delays, its satisfying climax. The volume is part of the publisher's Latin American Literature and Culture series. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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