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Deep Purple: A Novel Hardcover – May 27, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Seduction becomes a game of musical chairs in Montero's latest, a short, succulent erotic novel in which a libidinous music critic catalogues his conquests of the various virtuosos he's reviewed over the years. After a long and distinguished stint as the music reviewer for a San Juan newspaper, Agustin Caban has just retired. But he still has much to say, and it's not long before he's back at his desk, encouraged by his editor to pen a series of erotic memoirs. He begins with his affair with Virginia Tuten, the violinist who becomes his lifelong passion despite the presence of Caban's long-suffering and nearly invisible wife. Caban doesn't limit himself to women: another tryst is with male pianist Clint Verret, which turns into a threesome when Verret brings a woman into the picture. In other interludes, Caban's lovers are cheekily likened to their instruments: one plays the celeste and another the clarinet. But Montero saves Caban's most thrilling adventures for last. In his affair with French horn player Clarissa Berdsley, the musician's pet bat gets in on the sexual shenanigans, and a series of degrading but satisfyingly kinky episodes with violinist Manuela Suggia comes to a tragicomic end. Montero (The Red of His Shadow, etc.) shows considerable creativity in sustaining her one-note conceit, and she paints an appealing portrait of Caban as a wryly erudite gigolo who uses music in a variety of innovative ways as a vehicle for seduction. The combination of arch, literate writing (effortlessly translated by Grossman) and Caban's daring sexual escapades make this book a delectable treat from start to finish, especially for classical music mavens.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Dreamlike intensity." (New York Times Book Review)

"Lyric and lovely." (Dallas Morning News)

"A short, succulent erotic novel ...a delectable treat from start to finish." (Publishers Weekly)

"The best yet from Montero." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Montero may be one of the most under-recognized Latin American writers of our time." (Los Angeles Times)

"A dizzying work of art . Buried in its pages are the mysteries of human desire." (Los Angeles Times)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; 1st edition (June 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0066214203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0066214207
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,529,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By lvkleydorff on June 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Augustin Caban is a retired music critic. He thinks of writing his memoirs.And the outstanding feature of his life was his pursuit of the great virtuosa he encountered over the years.
And thus begins the explanation of the orchestra: Clint Verret on the piano,Rebecca Cheng - clarinet, Manuela Suggia - violin, Alejandrina Sanroma - celeste, Clarissa Berdsley - French horn, Virginia Tuten - violin. Each woman is shown her place in the orchestra. Their virtuosity is explained by their musical preference. Most of it is quite modern, if not outright contemporary - Edward Elgin, Bela Bartok, Holst, Saint-Saens.
Augustin makes love to them the way he perceives their connection to their instrument and favorite music. He is in control. he knows exactly what they want and need. but as each case develops it becomes clear that it is the women who are in control. And they are an assembly of truly weird ones. As we go along, it becomes rather pornographic. And forget about the guide to the orchestra.
Montero writes well and that is the redeeming grace of this book. The basic idea is interesting, the execution titillating.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As music critic Agustin Caban retires, he writes his sexual memoirs, sharing them with a gay editor who is particularly intrigued by Caban's affair with a male pianist. Caban's other encounters are with women, including passionate sex with a celeste player and oral gratification with a French horn player from Menominee, Wisconsin (which I mention only because it's close to my home town).

I don't view the memoirs as pornographic, as did another reviewer here, but they are definitely erotic, and that's the point. Music becomes a sexual fetish for Caban. His encounters are recited in a lyrical style, almost musical in itself. The link between music and sex has probably never been so boldly illustrated as in this brief novel. This isn't a conventional novel, and it certainly isn't for everyone, but I thought it was a fine piece of writing.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mojosmom VINE VOICE on November 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
Agustin Cabán, music critic for a San Juan newspaper, has just retired, and is writing his memoirs and sharing them with his editor. These memoirs consist primarily of his sexual encounters with musicians, and Montero writes of the connections her protagonist finds between music and sexual desire.

I had read other books of Ms. Montero's, Dancing to "Almendra": A Novel, and The Messenger: A Novel, both of which I enjoyed and found intriguing. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for Deep Purple. It's basically one sex act after another, and emotional content is lacking. I don't mind the descriptions of sex. I enjoy good pornography and I enjoy good writing about sex. But this wasn't either.
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