Everyone in this novel of New York walks around with tabasco in their trousers. Nominally occupied as poets, painters and dancers, their real artistry is reserved for the hay, where they have talent to burn. Every other page brings dripping descriptions of lickerish sexual congress, ranging from the metaphorical (‘He is a tongue. He is saliva, movement ...’) to the plain old dirty. A healthy, if unhygienic, spectrum of preferences is on view: in these pages you will meet algolagnia, sapphism, autoeroticism, amphieroticism and even heterosexuality. The question is, what is it about New York that makes its citizens so goatish, so permanently in rut?
In exploring this issue, Catherine Texier deploys a number of exotically named characters like Lulu, Mystique, Salvine and Raphael. Lulu is the heroine. A nomadic Frenchwoman, she works in a strip joint to make ends meet, and spends the rest of her time meeting men’s ends. An adept juggler of