Today I'm supposed to post my review of Colette's The Pure and the Impure as part of the Spotlight Series. This month, participating bloggers are shedding light on books published by New York Review of Books classics. This morning, I set my alarm for 4:00 A.M., thinking I could race through and finish the book and then write a quick review, meeting my obligation. After a half hour of reading, I realized that I was ruining The Pure and the Impure for myself so I could meet a blogging deadline.
I took a deep breath and stopped. I love Colette, but I wasn't going to love The Pure and Impure because I was starting to skim the words and had thoughts only of finishing, not of savoring. Then I thought about the work deadlines I have this week and wondered why I was giving up my sleep to read for my blog. Not a smart move. I will be starting this slim volume over again and will have a review some time very soon.
Here's the publisher's summary:
Colette herself considered The Pure and the Impure her best book, “the nearest I shall ever come to writing an autobiography.” This guided tour of the erotic netherworld with which Colette was so intimately acquainted begins in the darkness and languor of a fashionable opium den. It continues as a series of unforgettable encounters with men and, especially, women whose lives have been improbably and yet permanently transfigured by the strange power of desire. Lucid and lyrical, The Pure and the Impure stands out as one of modern literature’s subtlest reckonings not only with the varieties of sexual experience, but with the always unlikely nature of love.
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Published by New York Review of Books, 2000
I will be reading The Pure and the Impure as part of the Spotlight Series, developed to "help . . . spread the word on quality books published by small press publishers." For more information and to join future spotlight projects, visit the series's blog.