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Steven Lee BeeberThe main thing to keep in mind is that The Story of the Eye was written in France at the height of the Surrealist movement. As such, it addresses the most cherished of Gallic intellectual concerns. The forbidden vs. Catholicism. Bourgeois behavior vs. primitive passion. Even that old saw about faith and redemption (as opposed to good clean sin) gets a workout. Yet never, ever does it become pedantic.
Maybe it's because there seems to be something truly sincere about it all. Or maybe it's because the action comes fast and furious around the soliloquies. While the author's intent might have been to draw the line between the eye (sight/knowledge) and the groin (passion/feeling), the result is a damn hot read -- not only in the "one-handed sense," but also in the classic intellectual tradition. Images and metaphors leap out at you like the lightning crack of ejaculation, when you squeeze your eyes closed and see geometric shapes, all spiderwebbery and gleaming.