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Elza and Sex

Back to the book club questions! Please jump in with your thoughts!

Elza’s sexual adventures often seem to give her more than just physical pleasure: with each new lover she plays a different role and explores a different aspect of herself. Which of these “versions” of Elza did you find most appealing, and which the least?

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
cypherindigo
Nov. 8th, 2012 09:16 pm (UTC)
Library Journal has a review of "The General's Mistress" in the October 15, 2012 issue.

It is a very positive, if brief review.

I was trying to find in online so I could send it to you, but no joy.

I am sure if you asked at your local library, one of the librarians would let you look at the issue.
jo_graham
Nov. 9th, 2012 05:55 pm (UTC)
I saw it! It's great -- thank you so much for pointing it out!
lillibet
Nov. 9th, 2012 03:18 am (UTC)
I really liked the way that the sex scenes were used as character development. It reminded me a lot of the brilliant use of fight scenes in The Matrix. I enjoyed that most with Michel, in a way that feels "of course" to me, though I'm sure someone will feel differently. With him she seemed to be relaxing, rather than riding the high, probably because it was both self-determined and emotionally engaged.
jo_graham
Nov. 9th, 2012 06:18 pm (UTC)
I'm glad that worked for you! They really are character development and say a lot about how she's relating to other people. The turning point of the book is very much her two encounters with Napoleon in Italy, and the sex scene has to be there for that. It does change her in more than one way, that way being the money.
linneasr
Nov. 10th, 2012 06:06 pm (UTC)
Because I see the sex as 'honest' (hard to say what I mean by that, just that she's not faking it, even when she's prostituting herself), Elza's sexual encounters all seem to be natural and necessary outgrowths of wherever she is at the moment.

Yes, I see what you mean about the sex scenes with Napoleon; he is recognizing something in her, as well as respecting her desire (or lack of it). That respect for her choices from someone with that sort of power is so different from Moreau, who, I had the feeling, was playing with her body. For her pleasure and satisfaction, to be sure, but explicitly for his own pleasure and satisfaction. Napoleon's respect for her and his appreciation of her sexuality may have healed something in her that was wounded by Jan (in this life) and by Catholicism, with its anti-sexual, anti-female bias (in previous lives - I don't have the book of short stories with me, so can't quite provide exact instances).

More or less appealing? *shrugs* I don't think I want to make that selection - each was appealing in its context. I enjoyed other parts of the adventure just as much as the sex scenes!
jo_graham
Nov. 11th, 2012 01:43 pm (UTC)
That respect for her choices from someone with that sort of power is so different from Moreau, who, I had the feeling, was playing with her body. For her pleasure and satisfaction, to be sure, but explicitly for his own pleasure and satisfaction. Napoleon's respect for her and his appreciation of her sexuality may have healed something in her that was wounded

I think that's a good point. He values her, even though there is "no reason" to. He thinks she's important. He thinks that what she thinks is important. I'm not sure the latter has ever happened before. No man has ever thought that what she thought was important! And he's not just trying to get her into bed -- he's trying to get her on his side as though she were someone who mattered.

And of course he's right. She does matter. And she will prove vitally important to his future.
mari4212
Nov. 12th, 2012 02:52 am (UTC)
I don't have the book with me, but the version of Elza with the other woman, while she was still with Moreau, was my least favorite. There wasn't that level of honest caring that she has with her other partners, and that made me a bit uncomfortable.

My favorite was a toss-up between Napoleon and Michel. I think in both cases, it's because they value her and see her as being inherently of worth as a person, not just as a sexual partner, and she gains in her sense of worth through their assessment of her.
jo_graham
Nov. 12th, 2012 09:34 am (UTC)
You're right that the thing with Therese is different. She's not in love with Therese, and it's a good thing given that Therese is using her.

I think you're on the money that Napoleon and Michel both value her as a person, not just for sex, and that makes her reassess her own value. I think that really starts in that first scene with Napoleon. She doesn't know what to make of it. If he wants sex, he can just buy that. So why is he wasting time talking to her? She's not anyone important by the lights of her society. She's cheap in every sense. And yet he's trying to win her support. She can't put her head around why. Why do you think he does?
cadenzamuse
Dec. 3rd, 2012 02:11 am (UTC)
Um, well...let's just say that Elza and I share a lot of the same kinks. A lot. It made reading the book on the car ride back from Thanksgiving with my partner's brother in the car with us very uncomfortable for me. But it also made for an excellent time once partner and I got home! :-P

More concretely: Elza and I get off on exhibitionism for different reasons, so the humiliation part made me a bit uncomfortable, especially because I was keenly aware that Elza's relationship with Moreau was not on equal footing. And Elza assuring Michel that his rape fantasy was not evil as long as he didn't actually have nonconsensual sex was probably my favorite sex bit for nonsexual reasons. I think because Elza is teaching Michel something, in accepting his fantasy and letting him act it out in a RACK way. So it really brought home to me how much of equals Elza and Michel are.
jo_graham
Dec. 3rd, 2012 02:15 pm (UTC)
I'm glad that it made for an excellent end to your Thanksgiving! :D

They really are equals, and she's not squicked at all by his fantasy. She doesn't think he'd actually do it, and playing it doesn't bother her at all. She's truly not afraid of him down to the bone, and that remains true for the rest of her life.
tiffanyridges
Feb. 2nd, 2013 04:10 am (UTC)
blob
I dont know...Keep on movin'
Producer Christ Young
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )