Review Index

By MARIO MERCIER (Heinrich Hanau Publications; 1969/72)

An exceedingly rare book Iíve been hearing about for some time.  Banned for years in its native France, itís the only one of author/filmmaker Mario Mercierís many publications to be translated into English.  Those lucky few whoíve read Arlette Ryversí translation of JEANNEíS JOURNAL all seem to exhibit similarly awe-struck reactions, and having finally gotten around to experiencing this pervy masterwork myself, I fully understand the adulation.

     Quite simply, youíll be hard-pressed to find a more astounding display of fevered inspiration.  JEANNEíS JOURNAL has been compared to the erotic classic STORY OF O, but Iíd say itís closer to a grown-up ALICE IN WONDERLAND--or perhaps a XXX-rated refashioning of Terry Gilliamís BRAZIL.  Ultimately, though, it resembles nothing else, beginning in poetic, contemplative fashion and morphing into a pulpy science fiction pastiche chock full of perverse and extreme elements.  

     It takes place in some strange alternate universe where the luscious Jeanne lives a life of enforced solitude with her lover Dyna.  In this world eyelash stalks, voracious penis plants and slow moving water are constants.  Jeanne accepts it all with a weary cynicism, devoting her time to creating deadly life-forms while callously using the remains of quite a few murdered lovers for amorous purposes.  Sheís obsessed with death, and determined to beat it at all costs.

     Jeanneís quiet existence comes to an abrupt end when she attends a party thrown by the Baron, an impossibly wealthy monster.  Jeanne is victimized by sadistic partygoers and ends up imprisoned within the Baronís estates.  The Baron has harnessed the powers of time and physics inside his futuristic enclosures, which contain a myriad of fantastic and grotesque marvels.

     All manner of genetically altered humans haunt this place, including people who literally sprout from seeds, a gal with a second vagina in her throat (for the edification of her own father) and another bearing a vaginal suction cup.  In one area feral infants are birthed from funnels to devour anyone unfortunate enough to be situated below them; in another suspended latrines allow the Baronís subjects to submerge malcontents with shit--also on hand are people with long noses they use to clean the shittersí asses.   

     Jeanneís purpose in this place is food, being one of many people kidnapped by the Baron for his nightly cannibalistic chow downs.  Jeanne, despite her murderous nature, is appalled by such indiscriminate slaughter: ď(As) I kill only gratuitously and with refinement, I could not help being filled with indignation at these peoplesí behavior.Ē 

     Sheís only kept alive because the Baronís lusty wife Laure has the hots for her.  The Baron breaks down Jeanneís resistance by enclosing her in a giant sponge and assaulting her consciousness with horrific dreams--which, it should be added, are small classics of surreality in which alligator people, giant phalluses, digestive corridors and carnivorous trees hold sway (admittedly not terribly dissimilar to Jeanneís waking exploits!).  Following this Jeanne becomes Laureís pet, kept on a leash for use as her personal sex slave.

     I donít think Iím giving anything away by revealing that the Baron is eventually defeated, and in an appropriately gruesome bout of disease and mutation.  Laure meets an even wilder end involving a ďfucking pondĒ (meant literally).  Jeanne herself is afforded an especially unique exit in which her desire for immortality is granted in a singular fashion. 

     Believe it or not, the above is a very brief summary of the plethora of wonders contained herein.  The authorís imagination is so inanely fertile the prose can barely keep up with it (resulting in a somewhat breathless style, particularly in the latter half).  But for sheer invention JEANNEíS JOURNAL has few equals.  The book is a marvel of mind-boggling erotic weirdness; as such itís unparalleled, and astonishing.