Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sauce for the Goose

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sauce for the Goose

Article excerpt

Byline: JANE SHILLING

Jealousy by Catherine Millet translated by Helen Stevenson (Serpents' Tail, [pounds sterling]10.99) ThE writer and art critic Catherine Millet is probably best known on this side of the Channel as the author of the best-selling Sexual Life of Catherine M, a pitiless account of her life as a libertine that left British critics slack-jawed with stupefaction. "A book so rich in sexual revelation that it could feed five tabloids for a year," marvelled one.

Female interviewers were taken aback by Millet's appearance, noting her lack of "big tits, prozzie lips" and the other attributes regarded as necessary, in Anglo-Saxon sexual circles, for a life of energetic promiscuity. And they were keen to know what Millet's husband, the novelist Jacques henric, made of the book's revelations. Was he not tormented by her infidelity? In Millet's new book, Jealousy, we discover that the torment was mainly on the other side. one day, Millet writes, henric asked her to fetch something from his desk. There she found an envelope containing photographs of a naked, pregnant woman and a notebook in which Jacques expressed his desire for a certain "Blandine".

You might think that someone with Millet's erotic history -- 49 lovers she can put a name to, plus innumerable anonymous others -- might take a relaxed view of this modest evidence of sexual yearning. Not a bit of it. She was instantly gripped by a protracted convulsion of jealousy of which the present book is the record.

Sexual licence, Millet felt, was "her" thing. The balance of her relationship with Jacques depended on "a schematic vision: my rather dissipated personality countered by Jacques's more balanced one". She seems to have felt that her husband's move into her libertine territory was a threat, not just to the stability of their relationship, but to her sense of herself. …

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