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“I met him one spring evening. I became his mistress. I bought the latex suit he was wearing on the day he died. I acted as his sexual secretary. He introduced me to firearms. He gave me a revolver. I extorted a million dollars out of him. He took it back. I slaughtered him with a bullet between the eyes. He fell from the chair where I’d tied him up. He was still breathing. I finished him off. I went to take a shower. I picked up the shells. I put them in my bag with the revolver. I slammed the door of the apartment behind me.”
A love story. Despite the humiliation, the whips, the latex and the bullets. Inspired by a tragic event, the murder of a banker, Régis Jauffret imagines how the story unfolded.
Born in 1955 in Marseille, Régis Jauffret has written 17 books and won many prizes in France. Salammbo Press has also published LACRIMOSA by Régis Jauffret.
The film “Une histoire d’Amour”, based on Severe, has been adapted for the screen and directed by Hélène Fillières, starring Laetitia Casta and Benoît Poelvoorde.
“What I found most impressive in the novel is its refusal to give us the conventional comfort of explanation.”
“But what I found most impressive and also most alienating in the novel is its refusal to give us the conventional comfort of explanation. At the furthest outskirts of human behaviour, Jauffret is content to let the irrational, the incoherent and the inexplicable stand, just as they are. And that, I think, will offend readers a great deal more than any sadomasochistic practices. But it’s also the most ethical part of the story.”
“Here everybody is guilty and a victim, manipulator and manipulated at the same time.”
“Timeless and infernal.”
“The quality of Jauffret’s language, which fluctuates between the precise and the poetic, ensures his writing never lapses into sensationalism. Severe is a dark, often brutal, but resoundingly subtle consideration of the dynamics between love, exploitation, sex and power.”
Russell Williams, The Independent on Sunday
“The book is written in the first person and is a very stylish read. It grabs your attention from the first paragraph, which describes the murder in a few sparse sentences.”
“A reflection on sex, power, money and emotions, Severe also emerges as a deeply touching picture of a woman seeking absolution.”
“A universal, fascinating epic story of an unusual love affair. Again, Jauffret explores the boundaries of fiction and reality.”
“A radioactive diamond.”