Nikki Gemmell is the internationally bestselling author of The Bride Stripped Bare and With My Body, as well as Shiver, Alice Springs, and The Book of Rapture. She lives in Sydney, Australia, with her family.
A series of diary entries charts the sinuous paths of marriage and sexual desire in this artful book, a bestseller in the U.K. The author of the entries, a nameless 30-something housewife, has disappeared, leaving behind what amounts to 138 "lessons," written in the second-person, for her fellow archetypal "good wives." At first, the gimmick is jarring, but as the protagonist's personality emerges and flowers, readers will be seduced by this sometimes subtle, sometimes overwrought novel set in modern-day London. At first, marriage equals safety to the woman ("it's a relief, to be honest, this surrendering..."), but the sex is humdrum, and Cole, her husband, is remote and fastidious-only oral sex offers a surefire way to orgasm and sometimes he'd just rather watch TV. To make matters worse, he may have engaged in an affair with her best childhood friend. Beginning work on her long-planned book might cheer her up-and so will an affair with lovely Gabriel, of the "cathedral-wide" chest and silky young skin. Thus she commences erotic adventures previously unimaginable. She also becomes pregnant, and the anonymous author is cannily perceptive about the vicissitudes of pregnancy and new motherhood; she writes strikingly of the surprising erotic passion, emotional upheaval and anger that can flare during pregnancy. This unusual but strangely compelling novel offers an intimate chronicle of change and self-discovery, of a woman who makes a final and unexpected choice. (Mar.) Forecast: Gallons of ink have been spilled overseas about this one-most of it on the question of the author's anonymity (she's gone public there-or has been outed, depending on whom one asks). But there's little here that's shocking enough to justify the secrecy, so it's hard to imagine that there will be quite the same buzz stateside. The sex is explicit, but still rather tasteful. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
"The sex is rude and raunchy and exactly where you want
"A powerful novel that does not flinch from strong emotion or description...luminous."--London Times
"One of the few truly original voices to emerge in a long time."--Time Out New York
"An intensely honest look at a woman's inner thoughts and desires."--Dallas Morning News
"Artful...cannily perceptive...this unusual but strangely compelling novel offers an intimate chronicle of change and self-discovery."--Publishers Weekly
"Superbly executed: suspense, psychodrama, anger, tenderness and terror mingle with the restlessness of a vast, overpowering landscape."--London Times Literary Supplement
"A fierce, white-hot read."--Booklist
"Titillating...like an artful striptease, The Bride Stripped Bare ensnares us with its rawness."--San Francisco Chronicle
"A jazzy, nonlinear...narrative style as compelling and exotic as the landscape itself."--Baltimore Sun
"Wonderfully sensuous...witty in its construction...a subtle portrait of a modern marriage."--Independent
"Sexual awakening for the dark horse in us all."--Tatler
"Escapist fiction as its intriguing best. 'The Bride Stripped Bare' is sexy with a capital X."--Jill Davis, author of A Girl's Poker Night
"Simply too beautiful...a mesmerizing and disquieting novel that will deserve to be read again."--Vogue Australia
"Unremitting, elegant and dark. I believe every woman should get married at least once, and read this novel twice."--Suzanne Finnamore, author of Otherwise Engaged