* From Publisher for Review *
My Hundred Lovers is written by Aussie author Susan Johnson and I've been reading it as part of an Allen & Unwin read-along; you can read my previous two posts about the experience here and here.
The premise of the book is a woman turning fifty who reflects on her life and sorts through her body's memories. In 100 chapters, the woman - who refers to herself throughout the novel as 'the girl', Deb and 'the Suspicious Wanderer' - gives us her one hundred lovers; in essence one hundred sensual memories.
From first glance at the title, a potential reader might assume the main character to have had one hundred sexual lovers, however this is not the case. Deb's sensual memories do include lovers, however they also include other physical memories such as the love of croissants, riding a horse, the sensation of her mother's red fingernails scratching her back or the feel of raindrops on her face.
Each chapter is a vignette, a glimpse into Deb's life and the chapters are not always in strict chronological order. This is a personal and at times revealing piece of fiction and Deb is very open and honest when reflecting on her physical intimacy with her lovers; men and women. At times sexy, at times a little confronting but nevertheless it was moving throughout as it followed the path of Deb's exploration of self.
While reading this book I couldn't help but begin to think of my own physical memories, what would my own list contain if I were to create one in the same style? I would definitely include the smell of fresh cut grass, and the glorious sensation of getting into a bed warmed by an electric blanket on a chilly night.
Deb left one of her most important relationships until the very end of the book, the revealing of which drew a surprised and sad groan from me. This was clever writing and left me wanting more. The read-along definitely enhanced my enjoyment of the book and if the above has piqued your interest I definitely recommend My Hundred Lovers for your reading pleasure.
(This book also qualifies for my Aussie Author Challenge 2012)
My rating = ****