In 1976, Maryse Holder traveled to Mexico to pursue a life of sexual exploration. She wrote a series of letters describing her experiences, in which she expressed a desire to "wring a masterpiece from my life".
Following Holder's brutal murder in Mexico at the age of 36, these letters became the basis for the book Give Sorrow Words: Maryse Holder's Letters from Mexico. Published in 1979 by Grove Press, with an introduction by Kate Millett, it was praised by The New York Times Book Review, the Kirkus Review, and her writing compared to Genet, Jean Rhys, and Henry Miller in it's sexual candor and artistry.
In 2013, Edith Jones, the woman to whom Maryse Holder wrote those letters, re-issued Give Sorrow Words in a new edition. This long-forgotten masterpiece of feminist sexuality is timelier than ever, foreshadowing the blunt talk about a woman's erotic life embodied by Lena Dunham and others.
Give Sorrow Words is the story of one woman's shocking descent into a provocative world of lust and danger. As Maryse Holder's letters explore the last, eventful months in her life, they speak directly to the listener - forcing us to confront the pain, and even sometimes the passion, of living on the very edge of life, to the end.
What did you like best about Give Sorrow Words: Maryse Holder's Letters from Mexico? What did you like least?
I have never read any writing like this before. It is a one-of-a-kind combination of solid intellectual writing and very sad ly perverse sexuality. It's not porn. It's not even erotica. But it is the most direct writing about sexual experience I have ever read. The uniqueness of this book is what I liked best. What I liked least is that the reader of this audio book is too fast, very sloppy, and continually (almost purposefully) mispronounces every Spanish word in the book. The only good thing about the reader is that she is the woman to whom the letters were actually written. Still, this is the worst read audio book I have ever heard. I bought the Kindle version just so I could finish it without having to listen to the mispronunciations and utter lack of editing and production values. It's an interesting read byut a pitiful listen.
Would you ever listen to anything by Maryse Holder again?
Don't have to worry about that since nothing else was ever published.
Would you be willing to try another one of Edith Jones Rubin’s performances?
Absolutely not. If this is an example of an educated woman's reading ability then I'll stay away at all cost. Terrible job.
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