Sex and the country
"`Perhaps you could teach these things to me directly?' Prudence said.
"Rose's mouth fell open and stayed open. As it happened, for quite some time now she had regretted the fact that her enriching experiences still lacked an essential spice. ... [Prudence] was the one who dragged her, pushed her, willing and eager, towards the little bedroom behind the shop. And there, both of them had their first and definitive lesbian experience. After that it it was nothing more than a habit dependent on the whim of the moment.
"That's how you fight boredom in these sleepy villages."
I like the deadpan humor, the slow buildup to an unexpected punch line that you just know Magnan enjoyed as much as his readers will. (He uses the technique at least once elsewhere in the book's opening chapters, possibly to even better effect.)
I also like what the passage implies about the pace of life in Magnan's rural Provence. I'm not sure extra-marital liaisons are any more common in Magnan's work than in fiction set in cities, but they are far less fraught with anxiety, at least of the immediate kind. Consequences unfold slowly, if at all, and characters accept them stoically or with good-humored resignation or silent suffering or secret relief. The consequences are more like glaciers than volcanoes. Or maybe more like seasonal winds.
Hmm, why do I have this sudden urge to read the Book of Ecclesiastes?
© Peter Rozovsky 2009