Ah, classic literary fiction. It can be so wonderful, but at times dense, leaving us wishing for a guide to lead us through the venerable prose. Enter: Italian artist and writer Francesco D'Isa, who reviews the classics in a candid, tongue-in-cheek (and very short) way. We're happy to bring his column, "Very Short Reviews of Difficult Books," to English language readers! Check back here every Wednesday for three new reviews from Francesco.
The 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade
A collection of the most wicked and detailed sexual perversions of the history of literature, justified because “Nature makes vice nicer than virtue." A must-read with ascetic consequences: after 300 pages of sex, sex and more sex, no one wants sex anymore.
Plot: Every sexual act you can find Internet porn, plus some things that are not there (really).
Rating: 80 out of 100
Pornography by Witold Gombrowicz
A concentrate of the most wicked and detailed mental perversions of the history of literature, inside an inexplicable book by an inexplicable author, pornographic both in its style and thought.
Plot: Two guys want two teenagers to have sex, then everything ends badly.
Rating: 97 out of 100
Splendors and Miseries of Courtesans by Honoré de Balzac
Why students have to read that boring "Daddy Goriot," if everything that a teenager needs to know is so well taught by the courtesans?
Plot: The splendors and miseries of courtesans.
Rating: 90 out of 100
Past Very Short Reviews of Difficult Books:
Ready to add some old school titles to your reading list? Check back next week for some more Very Short Reviews of Difficult books, and in the meantime, why not catch up on some lighter fare on our Everything Romance page?