Monsieur – Emma Becker

“From their initial online encounter, through a shared appreciation of erotic literature, to the highly explicit and shocking story of their brief relationship, Emma Becker charts the labyrinths of lust of Ellie and ‘Monsieur’, set against the murky landscape of Facebook, text messages and the Pigalle hotel room in which they meet every Tuesday morning. Why do we do things we know are wrong? Why do May-to-December romances invariably go wrong? Why does the allure of forbidden sex cloud our judgments? Emma Becker doesn’t come up with all the answers, but provides a fascinating and poignant tale, which will turn Monsieur into the new Lolita.”

When I received this book for review, I was really excited. Lolita is my favourite book and, like most fans of it, I was always eager to read a book from Lo’s point of view. I tried Tiger, Tiger by Margaux Fragoso, but unfortunately it didn’t deliver on the read I had hoped for. So I was confident that Monsieur would fulfil my literary hopes.

Unfortunately I think I started this with a rather naive outlook – what I hoped for was a misguided love story, a sort of Lolita meets Love Virtually (a view adopted perhaps from the mention of Facebook in the blurb), a Lo and Humbert tale from Lo’s point of view. Monsieur, however, is a highly sexualised tale that has little – for me – of Lolita’s magic.

There’s no doubt that this was well written and skilfully translated – but unfortunately not what I had envisaged.

Many thanks to Constable & Robinson for the review copy.

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