The fan-maker's inquisition : a novel of the Marquis de Sade

by Rikki Ducornet

Hardcover, 1999





New York : H. Holt & Co., 1999.


The trial in 18th century Paris of a woman who co-authored a book with the Marquis de Sade, accusing the Church of murdering the Indians of Mexico. As if that is not bad enough, Gabrielle is a lesbian and a maker of fans with blasphemous motifs.

User reviews

LibraryThing member caerulius
This novel is a rara avis, a strange, lyrical bird that is by turns beautiful and grotesque. The Fan Maker of the title is being tried before the French court, and if she is convicted, she will be beheaded.
What is the charge? Apparently, her friendship with the infamous, imprisoned Marquis de Sade, her lesbianism, her luxuriance and libertinage. The Fan Maker makes marvelous fans, often pornographic in design, and often designed as theatrical puzzles. She defends her life before the tribunal, even as the Marquis sits in prison, fuming and bleeding the violent prose that she has assisted him in writing- a fictional account of a religious zealot cleric who has gone to the new world to "cleanse" it and himself of "evil".
An interesting peek into the French Revolutionary world and political moral dichotomy, as well as the baroque debauchery within the mind of deSade (as interpreted here by Ducornet). Note: no original deSadeian text is at work here.
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LibraryThing member goth_marionette
So I have never reviewed a book that I have not finished but this time I will. The book reads well and it flows along smoothly but I am a third of the way into the book and set it aside to read other books. Why? Because I have yet to come across the conflict. So far it reads like a diary with no hook to keep the reader turning the pages. So the main character is on trial, big deal. She has not appeared concerned by this matter so why should I be. Maybe one day I will pick the book back up to finish it because I hate to not finish a book I started but other books will draw my attention first. I gave this book two stars because the dialog is well written and the stories aren't bad, they just aren't good either.… (more)
LibraryThing member poetontheone
It is a surprise and a shame that I had not encountered this novel earlier, only learning of it recently through a post on Dennis Cooper's blog. Ducornet weaves an incendiary and narrative around the time, place, and character of the Marquis de Sade that is brimming with eroticism, poetry, and critiques of historical powers and the hypocrisy of moral dogma. She magnificently captures the spirit and voice of de Sade while at the same time unleashing the originality and depth of her own imagination.. Like the beautifully detailed and lurid fans it describes, this novel is an exquisite artwork that evokes both alluring and horrible images.… (more)



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