TITLE/AUTHOR: No Touching; Ketty Rouf
PUBLISHER: Europa Books
YEAR PUBLISHED: 2021
GENRE: Fiction / Translated
SETTING(s): France (outskirts of Paris)
ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: A story about a woman who needs something more in life and finds excitement in a new line of work.
BRIEF REVIEW: Josephine is a 30 year old woman who teaches philosophy in a high school in Drancy. She's in a rut, suffers from anxiety and has mostly unmotivated students, except for perhaps Hadrien. She dreads going to work and does not feel supported by the powers that be in her school system. Isn't there more to life she wonders?
One evening while on leave from her school job she walks into a strip club along the Champs-Elysee and feels something awaken in her. On a whim she takes an exotic dancing class and before long Josephine (A.K.A. Rosa Lee) becomes a stripper by night. What happens when her lives intersect?
The story may sound somewhat odd and at least certainly different but, Josephine is a complex character. She goes from being a plain Jane teacher to her secret life with sexy lingerie, makeup and high heels and a provocative allure that gives her a new sense of empowerment. She also loves the unexpected joy and of bonding with the new women she works with at the club. She also loves the power she feels she has over the customers. I found Josephine's story rather fascinating but, I just never connected with her. I know it's fiction but just how does a woman suffering from anxiety so easily take on such a drastic transformation. It does appear as if the author has done quite a bit of research about the darker side of strip clubs and what goes on there.
This novella doesn't have a complicated plot and it is just 113 pages. It is definitely not a story all readers will appreciate but, if you like to change your reading up a bit - I say give this one a try.
Thanks go to Europa Books and Edelweiss for allowing me access to this book in exchange for my unbiased review. The book was translated from French by Tina Kover who did an excellent job.