BIOGRAPHY

Consent

HarperVia. Feb. 2021. 208p. ISBN 9780063047884. $27.99. MEMOIR
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Springora created an upheaval in France in 2019 when she published her account of her affair with writer Gabriel Matzneff. She was 14 at the time, and he was 50. Her father was out of the picture and her mother was distracted, pursuing her own affairs. The effects of the May ‘68 countercultural revolutions still reverberated. Artistic freedom was inviolable and writers were given a great deal of license, perhaps none more so than Matzneff. His oeuvre was largely comprised of his personal diaries and thinly disguised fiction, in which letters from his besotted teenaged lovers were printed verbatim. Springora fell under his spell. Matzneff isolated her from her peers and school; she spent her days in his bed and under his tutelage. She eventually broke away; his profligacy with other vulnerable young girls and periodic trips to Manila to procure prepubescent boys alarmed her. In the wake of the affair, she felt damaged and used, with her self-esteem in tatters and her privacy violated.
VERDICT Springora widens her scope to indict not only Matzneff, but the French cultural elite that so readily enables and excuses his behavior. A fierce account from a woman hoping to wrest her story back. Recommended reading.

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