Jealousy: the Other Life of Catherine M

The Sexual Life of Catherine M, the prodigiously comprehensive erotic confessions of the French writer Catherine Millet, a self-proclaimed libertine, made her famous (or infamous). Her second memoir, Jealousy: the Other Life of Catherine M, is a raw counterpart to that first book. Where previously she celebrated her own infidelity, Jealousy is her coming to terms with the betrayals of her partner.

Despite a somewhat self-involved style - probably inescapable in such an intimate recounting - Millet succeeds in interweaving psychoanalysis with art, art with sex, and sex with writing. It is worth putting up with her introspection for the bridges she makes between art and personal experience. Although her account of the relationship between the self and the other tends towards didacticism, whether Millet writes for her reader or for herself remains obscure.

Jealousy: the Other Life of Catherine M
Catherine Millet
Serpent's Tail, 240pp, £10.99

This article first appeared in the 16 November 2009 issue of the New Statesman, Dead End