Author: Elfriede Jelinek
Original language: English
An attempt to portray the horror of certain men’s brutal sexual domination of women, this novel by the German author of “The Piano Teacher” tells the story of Gerti, a woman who turns in revulsion from her husband to a younger man, only to discover that he too wishes to treat her unkindly.
In a quaint Austrian ski resort, things are not quite what they seem.
Hermann, the manager of a paper mill, has decided that sexual gratification begins at home. Which means Gerti – his wife and property. Gerti is not asked how she feels about the use Hermann puts her to. She is a receptacle into which Hermann pours his juices, nastily, briefly, brutally.
The long-suffering and battered Gerti thinks she has found her saviour and love in Michael, a student who rescues her after a day of vigorous use by her husband. But Michael is on his way up the Austrian political ladder, and he is, after all, a man.
In Elfriede Jelinek’s mitteleuropa, love is as distant from sex as the Alps are from the sea, and the everyday mechanics of husband, wife, and child, become a loveless horror. Both a condemnation of the myth of romantic love and an angry defence of women’s sexuality, Lust is pornography for pessimists.
A bestseller throughout Europe, Lust conforms Elfriede Jelinek as the most challenging writer – female or male – in Europe today. It is a dark, dazzling performance.