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Story of O Mass Market Paperback – May 12, 1981


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (May 12, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345301110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345301116
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (385 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The classic erotic novel, THE STORY OF O relates the love of a beautiful Parisian fashion photographer for Rene. As part of that intense love, she demands debasement and severe sexual and pychological tests. It is a unique work not to be missed.

About the Author

Pauline Réage was a pseudonym for an editor at the prestigious NRF Review in Paris, whose editor in chief was her lover. She died in 1998.

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Customer Reviews

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  • "Writing" 32
  • "Passion" 12
  • "Influential" 6
  • "Romantic" 5
  • "Characters" 5
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

244 of 255 people found the following review helpful By Felicia Aguilar on September 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
The Story of O is about a young, beautiful Parisian photographer named O who wants nothing more than to be her lover's slave. She goes through strict "training" for two weeks at Roissey, a club where other women like her learn how to "obey" their masters in whatever they order them to do, whether it be for their masters alone or for other members of the club. O goes through harsh punishments, such as being whipped and flogged daily and being chained to her bed every night. What is most disturbing about this first part of the book, is not O's harsh punishments that she endures, but the fact that she endures all this debasement willingly.

Though she may be considered as a masochist at the beginning of the novel, it becomes clear while reading through the rest of the novel that this is not the case. This is not so much a story about masochism, as it is more a story about love, about how much a woman would sacrifice for it, and the length a woman will go to keep her lover, Rene, happy. O derives no pleasure from the physical, emotional, and psychological torture she endures. Rather, her pleasure is derived from the aftermath of those things: the lashes to her skin, the debasement and objectification of her body and the cruelty that she willingly chooses to endure makes O "happy" in the fact that she is doing all this to please her lover.

O is not a prisoner or slave in the normal term of the word, but rather she is a slave to her love for Rene, as he has made it clear to her that she is free to leave anytime she desires. But she is blinded by her love for him and feels that by enduring the punishment he puts her through, she is becoming closer to him. Or rather, she is becoming his, his object, his property.
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102 of 113 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read some of the customer reviews and I would like to clarify a couple of things. It seems that some of the readers did not pay much attention to the fact that Pauline Reage did not write this book. This book was written 40 years ago by an anonymous person. The reviews were negative toward the author and the writing style of the book which, I felt, was inncorrect on the part of the readers. Secondly, I feel that some of the readers did not understand that this was not, in my opinion, a romantic "love story." This book was about what O would do for her lover out of love. Yes, I believe that the characters ideals of love were extreme and very perverse, but that is not how I interpreted the book. To me, the book showed the enjoyment O received out of being submissive not only to Rene and Sir Stephen but to all men and women that wanted her to belong to them in everyway that was possible. This book took me by surprise but I would definitly recommend this book to anyone that has ever been curious about S/M. The Story of O will either push you into the exotic world of sado-masachisticism or it will completely horrify you. I would love to know who originally wrote the book but it will probably remain a mystery.
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131 of 147 people found the following review helpful By Jl Metcalf on December 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
The original "Story of O" is a novel. There is a comic book version by Guido Crepax which is NOT the novel. Amazon.com has mistakenly combined the reviews for the book and the comic book, which is very misleading because I wanted the novel and got the comic book!
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68 of 77 people found the following review helpful By EarthAngel on November 30, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
THE STORY OF O is a truly special work of literary art. For many of us, this was our introduction into a world that we didn't know existed outside of our own twisted minds. It was the first sign that we weren't freaks, or at least there were other freaks in the world, and we weren't alone.

There are aspects to this tale that may shock some people, or leave them with an unpleasant feeling after finishing it. And because of this, I believe it is important to understand why this book was written. THE STORY OF O was written by a French journalist named Anne Desclos (Dominique Aury) as both a love letter and the answer to a challenge by her boyfriend. He was an admirer of De Sade's erotica, and claimed that a woman could not write good erotica.

In the tradition of De Sade, she wrote a story of a young woman's descent into sexual degradation. O falls deeper and deeper until she reaches bottom and there is nowhere left to go, nothing left to do. What makes it truly stand out from De Sade and other male authors is the utterly feminine twist to the story: it is not lust that drives O down this path, but love: her love for Rene, at first, and later for Sir Stephen. O is a metaphor for Desclos' love for her lover, the whips and chains symbolize the strength of her devotion to him. The ending represents her fear of her lover tiring of her and abandoning her for a younger woman. (This is a very simplified explanation, there are several excellent essays of the various interpretations of the symbolism in this book, and can be found by doing a search for `The Story of O'.)

Desclos' lover was so impressed by her story he encouraged her to seek publication. And so she did, using the pseudonym, Pauline Reage.
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