We Always Treat Women Too Well

By Raymond Queneau; John Updike (Introduction by); Barbara Wright (Translator)
(NYRB Classics, Paperback, 9781590170304, 200pp.)

Publication Date: January 31, 2003

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We Always Treat Women Too Well was first published as a purported work of pulp fiction by one Sally Mara, but this novel by Raymond Queneau is a further manifestation of his sly, provocative, wonderfully wayward genius. Set in Dublin during the 1916 Easter rebellion, it tells of a nubile beauty who finds herself trapped in the central post office when it is seized by a group of rebels. But Gertie Girdle is no common pushover, and she quickly devises a coolly lascivious strategy by which, in very short order, she saves the day for king and country. Queneau's wickedly funny send-up of cheap smut—his response to a popular bodice-ripper of the 1940s—exposes the link between sexual fantasy and actual domination while celebrating the imagination's power to transmute crude sensationalism into pleasure pure and simple.

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