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I enjoyed this much more than On The Road. Even if I hadn't seen two of the cinema versions (the ones with Glenn Close and Sarah Michelle Gellar), I think I would have found this a compelling tale. At first it seems to be a straightforward tale of manipulation and hypocrisy, with Merteuil and Valmont exercising respectively feminine and masculine wiles over their various prey. But the twists start to appear in the last quarter of the book, when Valmont's very successes trigger a change of his own attitude, and Merteuil fails to catch onto what is happening in time to prevent his death and save her own reputation. Everyone comes out damaged or dead, with the exception of the odious Prévan who has played the game and won (but even so, his victory may be short lived). Yeah, I admit it is totally heteronormative and moralistic, but it is still a great read.

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pr1ss
Aug. 7th, 2009 06:56 pm (UTC)
When I read this, my copy included forward and afterward
notes. One of those posited that the the disasters at the end were a hastily tacked-on moral caution. That the book would have been too scandalous if the characters had simply gotten away with their amusements and it possibly would have been censored.

Of course without the ending, there would have been much less plot.
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