The French novelist Agnès Desarthe, speaking at the second Hay Festival in Thiruvananthapuram, delighted the audience with a racy discussion of the links between food and sex.
Her novel Mangez-moi, published in English as Chez Moi, is about a woman who tries to rein in her rampant sexual drives by running a restaurant, and in the course of the book has an affair with a teenage boy – a kind of reworking of Lolita in which the genders have been reversed.
She said she thought the subject matter might cause some ripples. But she found this not to be the case, at least not in her native France. “A bigger taboo,” she says, “is the fact that the mother has problems loving her baby. It seems you can have sex with anyone you like – but motherhood…”
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