Published in 1954, shortly thereafter banned, later hailed as a classic, this was one of the most depraved stories I’ve ever read. O, because of her love for Rene, becomes his and his private club members' willing sex slave. Used to satisfy every conceivable fetish and catering to every sexual appetite under the Parisian sun - from anal sex to chains and whips – she is beaten, debased, humiliated, and defiled. Every orifice is violated. Eventually her derriere is branded like chattel and her labia is pierced and tagged. Tragically, the initial reason she submitted to these horrific indulgences was for no other reason than to please her lover Rene. Rene passes her off to his step-brother Sir Stephen because he wants O to serve someone she doesn’t love and who doesn’t love her. Sad, shocking, and written by a female writer, no less, who kept her identity under wraps for forty years after the novel’s publication.
This novel has been described as erotic by some. I didn’t find it the least bit erotic, however. Instead, I found it utterly tragic. Still, the prose style is phenomenal. Extremely well written. And for that reason and that reason alone, I give it four out of five stars. I don’t recommend it, though. Too heart-wrenching and disturbing. Rated NC-17