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The Ages of Lulu Paperback – November 10, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (November 10, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802133487
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802133489
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,056,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in Madrid, this luridly inventive first novel strives to shock but instead proves that a woman's quasi-pornographic erotic fiction can be as mechanical, repetitive, graphic and cerebral as men's contribution to the genre. The story follows the sexual awakening of narrator Lulu, seduced at age 15 by an old family friend, Pablo, who poses as her guardian and then as her father, and who ultimately marries her. Echoes of Sade and The Story of O abound as Lulu has sex with her schoolmistress; enjoys a threesome with Pablo and a transvestite; obsessively beds homosexual men; is blindfolded, tied down and gang-raped; and then is raped by her brother Marcelo. Lulu's struggle to free herself of brutal, alcoholic Pablo's smothering grip, and her fitful concern for her small daughter, Ines, who seems utterly lost and insignificant amid the assorted sexual frenzies, are perfunctory plot elements in an overly busy narrative that reveals an almost fetishistic obsession with sadomasochism, bondage, oral sex, sodomy, depilation, masturbation, voyeurism and so forth.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This first-person narrative follows the modern sexual exploits of Lulu, beginning with her teenage sexual initiation with her brother's older friend Pablo and continuing up to her mid-thirties. Lulu, whose experiences seem to come from the pen of the Marquis de Sade, is totally obsessed and dominated by Pablo. Despite Pablo's compulsive involvement with young girls, they marry and have a daughter named Ines. Lulu seeks her own sexual gratification, which involves transvestites, prostitution, sodomy, and sadomasochism. A nightmarish party, orchestrated by Pablo, accompanied by a variety of violent and sadistic episodes concludes this debut work of erotica that comes from a world of fantasy where our present-day fear of AIDS and other diseases doesn't exist. Although Grandes's writing is serviceable, the plot is not very compelling, and the characterizations are shallow even by erotica standards. The pornographic descriptions may offend many readers. Not essential for most collections.
David A. Berona, Westbrook Coll. Lib., Portland, Me.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 1, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ordered this book expecting a titillating read, and ended up enjoying it more as a well-written exposition of the obsessions of a rather unfortunate young woman.
Like Nabokov's _Lolita_, _The Ages of Lulu_ is often perceived as scandalous erotica, but in fact deals in a fairly pedestrian way with common forms of fetishism, especially sado-masochism and pedophilia (although the narrator is 15, hardly a little child, when she has her first experience). What is more interesting about the book, however, is the depiction of a woman who enjoys watching gay men having sex -- the flip-side, as she insightfully notes, of the much more common habit of men enjoying "lesbian" erotica. My own experience talking to real women makes me think that this kind of fetish is much more common than one might think, which makes the depiction of it in "Lulu" somewhat refreshing and novel.
Unlike some reviewers, I enjoyed the use of British English slang, which added an air of foreignness to the story -- entirely appropriate, since it takes place in Madrid. Ultimately, though, Lulu's self-destructive and selfish behavior, like that of the hero in _Lolita_, made me feel sorry for her and the people in her life (especially her neglected daughter), and the ending seemed abrupt and perfunctory, not well-thought-out at all. Perhaps Ms. Grandes was writing for a deadline. What prevents me from giving the book another star is the excessive use of erotic-lit cliches -- everything is swelling, bursting, exploding, over and over again, to the point where it sounds like a recipe, rather than a real experience.
So... if you're interested in a well-written fictional journal of female sexual obsession, I recommend this book. But if you're looking for an erousing piece of erotica, I can't say there's much in Lulu that will satisfy you.
To be fair, I am a 33-year-old male heterosexual with a conventional, liberal upbringing.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 19, 1999
Format: Paperback
I read this book several years ago while in high school. I found this book to be very refreshing, fun, erotic, and interesting. I related to some parts of Lulu's experiences, and that to me is incredible because it made it more vivid. As I read this book, I could mentally picture each scene as if it was a movie, I could imagine Lulu's expressions of her emotions, and the emotions and expressions of the other characters too. I really enjoyed this book, I've read it more than once and passed it along to my friends who also enjoyed it immensely.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "susie4eyes" on June 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
Perhaps my standards are low, but I've plowed through a fair bit of erotica, and this currently stands at the top of my list. More accessible that "Story of O" or "Justine" and less pedantic and plodding than any of Anne Rice's erotic writings, Grandes' work finally makes proper use of the power of words in conveying sexual imagery. The protagonist's sexual forays allow us to enjoy that element of sex so often ignored by most erotica and pornography: the tease, the suspense, the yearning, the quiet obsession. To tie it all together, Grandes provides readers with a poignant story of sexual birth and maturation, to give, as they say, a "plot" to all the naughtiness.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
The Ages of Lulu is erotic, but by the end you want someone to save her from herself. There is a great scene where Lulu's lover shavs her. The part where she has blindfolded sex with her brother is wierd - I imagine especially for those who have a brother. As Lulu matures she gets into some wierd activities, including tagging along for sex with otherwise gay men. Glad I read it. No nightmares. But I felt bad for Lulu, and the urge to be more chaste, by the end.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Brassell on May 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
I bought this book a few days ago and read it in one setting. I've read a lot of erotica and this has to be one of my favorite books I have read in a long time. The plot pulled me in and took me to another world. I felt compelled to help the main charater, Lulu, I felt sorry for her and wanted to hold her and make everything better for her, to norture her. A lot of people can relate to this story because most of us have found ourselves having a crush on someone much older when you are young. She fell in love with her brothers best friend, a much older man. The romance between them were erotic and breathtaking at the same time, even though you could slap her husband, Pablo, for being an ass he soon turns the tables and you find yourself ooing and aahing because you can tell he loves Lulu so much. Albeit the scene with Pablo, Lulu and her brother was a bit much, you still wished for everything to end happily. Lulu's sexual quest throughout the novel was I think a self discovery and also a punishment. As a young girl she felt unloved and met a man who not only nortured her like a father, but loved her as a man. If that makes sense. I really enjoyed this novel, the story will stay with me for a long time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By *. . . Lujaine . . .* on September 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
I was completely taken in by this book! Although I didn't find it "sexy" in that sense of the word, I did find it to be incredibly arousing in that it woke me up to a different world of pleasure versus pain. This novel definitely examines both facets.

I have so many questions about the story and the stories within this story, and I wish I could have had the opportunity to discuss it with someone (...which reminds me, this novel is not for the faint at heart). I found myself being able to identify with her lust and confusion...

I thought it was beautifully written and although as disturbing and heartbreaking as it is... I would nevertheless recommend it to those who would like to take a deeper look into the mind of a young woman in search of her heart.

*...and if you get a chance afterwards, let me know what you think ;-)
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