Friday, January 13, 2006

Books I liked in 2005

by "the famous norteamerican woman's writer"

WOMEN'S BARRACKS. By Tereska Torres. Feminist Press 235 pgs.

"Originally published in 1950, this account of life among female Free French soldiers in a London barracks during World War II sold four million copies in the United States along and many more millions worldwide.
The novel is based on the real-life experiences of the author, Tereska Torres, who escaped from occupied France. She arrived as a refugee in London and joined other exiles enlisting in Charles de Gaulles'army , then stationed in Britain awaiting an invasion of their homeland by Allied Forces. But Women's Barracks is no ordinary war story.
The grim world of an urban military barracks became the setting for one of the stearniest novels of its time. Leaving "normal" civilian life behind, the women enter an all- female rearm, where passionate attachments soon form--between older, experienced women and young innocents, between butch officer types and their femmes subordinates. And for those with more traditional leanings, there was a city full of soldiers to be had- sometimes two or three at a time.
At the Biltz rains down over London, taboos are broken, affairs start and stop and hearts are won and lost. Torres dutifully relates the erotic adventures of her comrades with an equal sympathy toward straight and gay relationship that was unusual for its time.
Despite a tone that is frank rather than lurid, Women's Barrack was banned for obscenity in several states. It was also denounced by the House Select Committee on Current Pornographic Materials in 1952 as an example of how the paperback industry was "promocy moral degeneracy". But in spite of such efforts- or perharps, in part, because of them- the novel became a record -breaking bestseller and inspired a whole newgenre: lesbian pulp".