Two French schoolgirls discover obsessive pleasures in repressed secrets in this “masterpiece on the tyranny of love” (Independent, UK).
“Violette Leduc was Simone de Beauvoir’s protege, an erotic writer to match Jean Genet and a feminist tour de force” (Rafia Zakaria, The Guardian). With this startling new translation of Leduc’s hidden classic, the groundbreaking Thérèse and Isabelle proves an authentic and liberating exploration of queer sensibilities, which still stands as “one of the greatest examples of French-Language erotic literature” ever written (Times Literary Supplement).
Censored for half a century for its vivid depiction of budding female sexuality, this is the “dark and luminous” (Nicole Borssard) novel of two young women in the consuming and at times frightening throes of first love. Navigating their schoolgirl relationship becomes a rapturous secret, as they sneak away from repressive boundaries to go beyond the limits of friendship with “all the raw urgency of female adolescent sexuality: its energy and intensity, the push-pull of excitement, its dangers and glories” (Kate Millett, award-winning author of Sexual Politics and Mother Millett).
Filmed in 1968 by Radley Metzger, starring Essy Persson and Anna Gaël, Thérèse and Isabelle is finally available as it was intended to be read. “I have waited a very long time to slip back into the unexpurgated, delicious darkness with these iconic lesbian lovers” (Amber Dawn, Lambda Literary Award-winning author Sodom Road Exit).
"This is all the raw urgency of female adolescent sexuality: its energy and intensity, the push-pull of excitement, its dangers and glories, building to a coming explosion." Kate Millett, author of Mother Millett
"Read it in one sitting... Literally breathless. This first-person torch song for 'the pink brute' reminds us why French schoolgirls are the emblem for naughty passions as literary classics." Sarah Schulman, author of The Gentrification of the Mind
"School-aged, yet sage in their desires, Thérèse and Isabelle called forth an endless nighta dark and delicate space for them to explore the complexity of their love. I have waited a very long time to slip back into the unexpurgated, delicious darkness with these iconic lesbian lovers." Amber Dawn, author of How Poetry Saved My Life