The Way it Works with Women

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Northwestern University Press, 1998 - Fiction - 143 pages
The Way It Works with Women is a brutal and relentless exploration of the dark side of desire. Shocking yet poetic, the novel is composed of bits of dialogue: outbursts and exchanges spoken in the night and expressing naked physical and psychological yearning; murmurs of fragmentary declarations spoken in deserted doorways and dark hotel rooms. The women of the title - young and old, licentious and inhibited, awkward and uncouth, yet full of grace and innocence - bare their souls to a lone attentive man, a man whose very passivity underscores the strange and powerful freedom derived from their harsh confessions.
With its underpinnings in religious mysticism, Calaferte's erotic excess - sometimes lyrical, often crude, always thought provoking - explores the fear and the vulnerability that seize man in the face of the infinite. And it is this excess that makes The Way It Works with Women such a forceful mediation on the myriad contradictions of the human spirit.

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The Way It Works With Women ($24.95; Sept.; 143 pp.; 0-8101-6033-1): The first of Calaferte's many novels to be translated into English, this offensively explicit short tale, originally published in ... Read full review

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About the author (1998)

Louis Calaferte (1928-1994) was one of the most prolific and controversial French writers of the twentieth century. A Christian anarchist, fiercely independent and aloof, he nevertheless won the Grand Prix National des Lettres. His ninety published titles include forty collections of poetry, a half-dozen volumes of plays, a half-dozen books of essays, a series of uninhibited novels, such as Requiem des innocents (1952), Septentrion (1963) and La Mecanique des femmes (1992), a series of recorded interviews and sixteen books of carnets or notebooks. His massive work breathes with unrestrained freedom, a disdain for social convention, a love of women, a childlike wonder, an enthusiasm for art and literature, a strange and stimulating stream of consciousness and a belief in life as it is lived.

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