Review of Lady Chatterley’s Brother

Damian Kelleher has reviewed Lady Chatterley’s Brother at his personal website. FYI, as he notes at the end of the review:

In the efforts of full disclosure: It should be noted that I have in the past contributed to The Quarterly Conversation. I have tried to prevent this fact from influencing my opinion. The ebook of Lady Chatterley’s Brother was purchased by me at full retail price.

With that out of the way, I’ll say that it’s a rather in-depth review (nearly 3,000 words), and rather positive. This is how it begins:

Lady Chatterley’s Brother, the first of online periodical, The Quarterly Conversation’s, TQC Long Essays, juxtaposes the pornographic smut of Nicholson Baker with the delayed gratification of Spanish writer Javier Marías in an effort to discover what kind of sexualised writing is possible in a world with endless amounts of freely available pornography. It is also a gauntlet thrown in the face of conventional (English language) literary criticism, putting forth the challenge that criticism, now that we have ebooks and the endless pages of the internet, can be a participatory event, one in which reviewers and critics can and should engage with one another. Criticism – and reading – must become a dialogue between enthusiastic individuals willing to discuss, argue and understand literature. Lady Chatterley’s Brother is an excellent first step in this direction.

I’ll also note that Damian seizes on this quote, which is interesting, since it’s one of my and Barrett’s favorites from my half of LCB:

In contrast to pornography, seduction strikes terror into conjugal love because it offers that one thing that conjugal love can never quite get back: that original desire. A Heart So White reveals its grasp of sexuality by attuning us to this constant danger that seduction poses to conjugal love. Its plot inhabits the multitudonous ways that such seduction can seep into the cracks of devoted relationships.

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The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

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