intense sensations

Beyond all limits?

Posted on: February 25, 2012

Nine and a Half Weeks: A Memoir of a Love AffairNine and a Half Weeks: A Memoir of a Love Affair by Elizabeth McNeill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to give this book 5 stars because I enjoyed it and, while I was reading it, I became very interested in the life of the author.

But, to be honest, I spent more time trying to find out something about the author than I did actually reading the book. It’s a very short book. I like the flow of the sentences. They are colloquial and simple but very smooth, which is the sign, I think, of a very experienced writer.

I didn’t find out very much about Elizabeth McNeill for all the time I spent researching her. I gathered that at the time of writing this novel she was working as an executive for a New York Publishing company, that the book was probably inspired by a real relationship and that she probably shopped at Bloomingdale’s.

I didn’t find the sex in this book arousing but I enjoyed the descriptions of clothes and of the insides of bedrooms and wardrobes.

What I liked most, though, was the cool, thoughtful analysis of why she enjoyed pain during sex, how it contributed to her sensual pleasure and why it intensified her orgasms.

The story moves between present and past tense very skilfully and there is a poignancy throughout that culminates quite beautifully.

At the end of the story she references a “porn flick” called Beyond all limits and she talks about having gone beyond her limits.

I found this interesting because of my own erotic memoir called Love has no limits. Elizabeth McNeill has a different perspective from me. She ends on a note of pessimism: “I wonder whether my body will ever again register above luke-warm.”

My own book ends on a note of naive yearning: “… love has no limits if it deserves the name of love.”

Perhaps that’s why, although I enjoyed this book intellectually, emotionally it left me cold.


2 Responses to "Beyond all limits?"

As always, wonderful review, Vanessa. I like the fact that your draw a comparison between Nine and Half Weeks with your own.

I never read the book but saw the film. I know you’ll get something quite different from reading the original.

Thanks, Junying. I have seen the film more than once.

I’m glad you enjoyed the reference to my own book. 🙂

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Books by Vanessa Wu

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