The Italian geography of this debauched little novel isn’t the only thing that reminded me of Casanova’s memoirs, but our protagonist Bill is the patient rather than the agent of this book’s principal seductions. Only in the surprisingly plot-loaded finale does he take significant initiative (quietly, even so); otherwise, Cloris leads the dances.
Erotic cinematography is a chief cultural concern of the book. There are some curious allusions to esotericism, such as a quick pair of references to Pico and Plethon (128, 130), and Lord Cholmondeley’s duties with the Knights of Malta.
The quasi-autobiographical tenor of the book involves a lot of authorial introspection. Bill often mentions his anxiety that he wasn’t writing about his adventures, or observing them astutely enough to write about them later. But the novel is full of dry wit along with the wet sex, and the pacing is both relaxed and inviting, even with troubles shadowing the main characters. [via]