One Hundred Strokes of the Brush be

`Melissa P.`,Lawrence Venuti

One very hot Italian summer, a schoolgirl sits alone in her bedroom, staring at posters of Marlene Dietrich and listening to classical music. She strips before her mirror, examining her adolescent body pleasurably yet without desire. She writes: I want love, diary. I want to feel my heart melt, to see the stalactites of my ice shatter and sink in the river of passion, of beauty. The narrator searches for love but the men she meets only want sex. With the pain of unrequited love comes the excitement caused by her discovery of the sexual power she has over men (and other women). This diary of a teenage girls sex life is a work of deceptive innocence. Influenced by Nabokov and Anais Nin, it is both erotic and literary. When the book was first published, it was assumed that this could not be the work of a teenager. In fact it is the first novel of a young writer of great literary talent.