Read Spanking the Maid by Robert Coover Online


Written early in Coover's illustrious career, Spanking the Maid is an impeccable and spellbinding novel about a master, his maid, and the irresistible ritual that binds them.A bedroom and a bathroom are the only places where the two characters meet, and every day it is the same. The maid comes to the bedroom to clean. She inevitably forgets something -- the soap, fresh sheWritten early in Coover's illustrious career, Spanking the Maid is an impeccable and spellbinding novel about a master, his maid, and the irresistible ritual that binds them.A bedroom and a bathroom are the only places where the two characters meet, and every day it is the same. The maid comes to the bedroom to clean. She inevitably forgets something -- the soap, fresh sheets, a bucket -- or does something wrong. The master has had a nightmare he can't quite recall that had something to do with when he was in school: lectures, or was it lechers? No matter, the maid must be reprimanded for her neglect, and out comes the handy paraphernalia -- a hairbrush, a cat-o'-nine-tails, a rod, a cane -- and the spanking begins.Included in Harold Bloom's The Western Canon and named by Daphne Merkin in The New Yorker as one of her "favorite" S/M books, Spanking the Maid is a spare, tantalizing, and perfect book by an American master....

Title : Spanking the Maid
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780802135407
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 112 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Spanking the Maid Reviews

  • Brian
    2018-09-21 11:51

    One might find this novella base. One might find that base desires and longings, base natural proclivities, base sexual deviancies are not worth reading. I want to Coover all those bases.This novella is dark, gallows-humor funny, brilliant. Its actors are caught in a perpetual loop - a timeless equation whose therom has been proved in the Master's "manual". Both the Maid and the Master succumb to those maths regardless of the minor props that make an appearance and could potentially alter the course. "Maybe it's some kind of failure of communication," muses the Master. "A mutual failure. Is that possible?" Is the question directed internally to the action of the story? Or is it between Coover and his Reader. Am I coming through, loud and clear?No? Start again. I'm not going anywhere.

  • Nathan
    2018-09-22 15:47

    If you like spanking and you like Coover, you'll like Spanking the Maid. If you don't like spanking, please don't read this beautiful book. If you don't like Coover..... well, sorry for you. If you like spanking but don't know if you like Coover, no matter, read Spanking the Maid. If you don't like spanking but you like Coover, you've contradicted yourself. If you like neither spanking nor Coover, you're not reading this review.

  • Praj
    2018-09-27 11:58

    ***(This review is been dedicated toPaul who always has the sweetest and most encouraging words to say and also has been patiently awaiting the Coover review)**The tinkling of the chimes crackled through the open door pouring ample sunlight on the lazy mauve interiors. She timidly walked in with her vital office paraphernalia – mops, cleansers, brushes, all loosely hanging in her pockets. The smell of the velvet curtains tightly clinging on to the humidity of her sweaty underwear. Clenching the corners of her apron, she walked towards the smartly aligned display. An old radio station belting, “Oh, teach me, my God and King in all things thee to see and what I do in anything, to do it as for thee!”, made her bottom whimper in its soreness. “What would the Master use this time to chastise her for the wrinkled pillow cover?, “Would he use his hand, a ruler, his belt, cat-o-nine tail, a hickory switch , a bull’s pizzle or the leather strap that proudly shined through the glass display?”, she feared. The world is a complicated place. In this possible chaos why do humans have a desperate urge of organizing the order of chaos? Is the need to cataloging and positioning materialistic things a respite from being unable to organize life’s chaos? Is that why her Master was hell bent on disciplining her to achieve perfection in her domestic chores? She contemplated, the blood from her welts immersing in the cottony abyss. The furry toys on the counter made her sense the embarrassment she had this morning when she saw old razors lying on the bed in between the swarm of ants savoring a measly meal of crumbs.The tinkling of the chimes crackled through the open door pouring sunlight on the lazy mauve interiors. She timidly walked in with her vital office paraphernalia – mops, cleansers, brushes loosely hanging in her pockets. The smell of the velvet curtains tightly clinging on to the humidity of her sweaty underwear. Above the burly stack of lotions and potions, a poster screamed, “A servant with this clause makes drudgery divine, who sweeps a room as for thy laws wakes that and tha’action fine!”. She picked up two dainty figurines of fairies, words – ‘confusion’ and ‘disorder’ cursively engraved on their torsos. Unexpectedly, to her horror the heaviness of the air was torn apart by a loud thunder. She turned towards the perched edible lingerie; she clenched on to her apron. It was her Master! Why was he trying out the new leather whip? Had he seen the damp towel she has left on the bathroom rack or the pillow that she had forgotten to fluff? The Master looked worrisome. “How did it all began?”,he wondered. He felt trapped in the bedlam that engulfed his vague nightmares. The picture of the ‘bird with blood in its beak’ on the nearby wall made him ponder if it was God who had ordained bodily punishment and he was merely obeying by taking a refuge in the purity of its technique. "Pain is that which brings us closer to God”, he laughed at that very thought as he aroused the leather whip by splitting the air wide open imagining the maid’s bottom quivering to as he gave her a true service to achieve freedom of perfection. “Perhaps today last!”, he deliberated as he ached to take a leisure stroll in the park.The tinkling of the chimes crackled through the open door pouring sunlight on the lazy mauve interiors. She timidly walked in with her vital office paraphernalia – mops, cleansers, brushes loosely hanging in her pockets. The smell of the velvet curtains tightly clinging on to the humidity of her sweaty underwear. She placed the two fairy figurines on the counter. The welts on her buttocks were awakened by the sticky underwear. Her wincing to every crimson swelling was noticed by a man from the nearby table. He had noticed her when she had walked in and she had seen him too. The man went on scribbling something in a book. He was a writer; meta-fiction was his forte. He had long ago surmised that world was a subjective place with its paradoxical demeanor. It could not be objectively comprehended in its entirety because there were too many varied narratives to sort through. Thus, through his writings he played with life’s puzzling fragments by linking the confusion through the regulation of pizzle & puzzle, humidity & hymnody, humility & humor, order & odor. Looking at the maid paying for the figurines, the writer wondered if she could be able to appreciate his written book. Would his audience value his post-modernity? Will his audience dismiss his prose as another Victorian pornography due to its titillation factor? Or would they evaluate as some religious philosophical question? The sensuous language of the prose did not bother the writer and he knew it would not bother his readers too. His book is an open metaphor like the bare buttocks of the maid. Similar to the way the Master found salvation in the chastisement of the maid and the maid who dwelled between the mystifying roles of a master and a servant, the writer’s prose dwells on the absurd nature of myth and life. Just as the writer was about to contemplate if his book would be loved or…. a frog from nowhere just jumped onto the counter canceling the other dreaded word that was about to enter in the author’s mind. The maid followed her Master home. THWACK!!!!!The writer certainly does not have a thing to worry about......I’m already being blissfully whipped by this miniature brilliance.

  • Paul
    2018-10-02 16:08

    This is my third Coover. I enjoyed Noir, I thought Briar Rose was a little limited in its scope and lacked imagination; but what to make of this one. For once the title does say it all and this is a very claustrophobic novella. It is set in two rooms, the bedroom and bathroom. There is a garden with doors from the bedroom opening out onto it, but the characters don’t go there. There are only two characters. Neither characters are named, there is the maid who is female and the master who is male. One assumes the rooms belong to the master, but it is an assumption, for all we know it could be a hotel. The timescale is always morning/afternoon; we never see any other time of day. The maid is there to clean the rooms, she has a uniform and the tools of the trade (mop, bucket, duster, cleaning products etc.). The master is usually in bed, or getting out of bed to go to the bathroom. Something is always wrong with the maid’s work or with her appearance. The towels are damp, the bed not properly made, something gets broken; always something is wrong. This is inevitable. Even when the maid makes the bed, the sheets become rumpled and unmade; her uniform goes awry in some way, things seem to break on their own. There is always something odd or unusual in the bed in the morning as the maid draws the covers back; broken glass, assorted articles of clothing, a frog (I kid you not); something designed to startle and make the maid scream. There is always the inevitable punishment, as per the title and the master makes use of a wide variety of implements. The punishments are always brutal and seemingly out of proportion to the office. The descriptions of the punishments are comic book almost straight from the 1960s batman TV series. So, what is it all about? I have read that it is a parody of nineteenth century pornography. The amount I know about nineteenth century pornography could be written on the back of a small postage stamp, but I think not; it isn’t the least erotic. When the master does have an erection, Coover is scathing about it and it disappears very quickly. In fact the whole is boring and repetitive. It isn’t really a parody of bdsm either. Neither side enjoys the rituals. The master seems to hate/get tired of what he has to do and the maids hates it as well. There is a compulsion that drives them both and it has nothing to do with enjoyment. Presumably the master could hire a more efficient maid and the maid find a better job, but they are bound together and neither can escape. The whole is also bound by the master’s manuals. There is a manual for the cleaning and manuals for the corporal punishment and for all the implements the master uses and he is bound by the manuals; the rules. The problem is you can do a lot with this. A Marxist perspective could be applied whereby the master/maid relationship can be seen as a class relationship of exploitation of the means of production. From a feminist perspective the maid symbolises all exploited and abused women. The abuser is as trapped as the abused but holds onto the power in the relationship. Jenny Diski made the link between the type of relationship portrayed here and a real life one. Betty Maxwell wrote a book about her husband, the late media mogul Robert Maxwell and said this about his attitude to her; “He would constantly revert to the same old theme – that I did not look after his material needs to a standard he considered acceptable and was therefore incapable of ensuring his happiness. Sometimes there would be a button missing on a shirt, or I would forget his evening shirt studs or black tie when I packed his bag. He would complain that his cupboards were not impeccably tidy or that I hadn’t got his summer clothes out early enough ... What he wanted me to do was ‘assist, bolster and serve him and the children”That struck me as exactly the kind of relationship Coover creates here. There are obvious questions about the nature of transgressions and guilt and as one reviewer asks “Whose obsession is this?” Not the maid’s or master’s certainly; the author, possibly; but then there is a lack of imagination (deliberate?) in the “action”. Some reviewers bring Barthes, Lacan and the nature of language and communication. It must also be said that some reviewers have done the same for Winnie the Pooh. Justifiably? Who knows?Like Briar Rose this is a writing and rewriting of the same scene over and over again. It is narrow and limited and rather boring if it is taken just as a parody of a genre; not to mention the objectification of women. The question then seems to be; is it a metaphor for something else? A critique of class relationships, of gender relations; a philosophical, even Lacanian look at human relations? Well, for me the jury is out. It may just be a clumsy parody. It’s certainly well written, but not a great deal of fun. Coover is a bright chap, so there may be a lot more to it than the surface appearance (there are some sly allusions to fairy tales and Greek myths). As for me; I’m still to be convinced by Coover.

  • Brian
    2018-10-18 08:00

    The only person that can out-Coover, is Coover.This beautiful volume is bookporn, both in content and creation.The paper feels like it was made from the trunk of Yggdrasil and cured with unicorn tears. Just look at that richness and how it holds ink.In addition to writing beautiful novels, Rikki Ducornet writes poetry and creates stunning line drawings. It's not fair that someone can be so talented in the arts. Her additions to this book are staggeringly beautiful.My favorite:The first 95 copies of this book came with an extra bonus (my edition just missed by 5 copies):More special Coover books, please.

  • Anthony Vacca
    2018-09-25 07:43

    Spanking the Maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid (Master: I like spanking the maid!) is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid (Maid: Oh, please don't spank me again!) is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid (Master: I am so very tired of spanking the maid!) is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid (Maid: Oh, please spank me again and again!) is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid (Master: Why must I even spank? Who am I?) is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid (Maid: Assumes the position. Spank me! Spank me! Spank me!) is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid is spanking the maid isBONUS FEATURES: This edition was illustrated by the witchy word woman, Rikki Ducornet:

  • Ian
    2018-09-29 16:06

    The Bed Stripped, the Maid Whipped, My Eyes PrickedI should really rate this very brief novella five stars. What appears on the page is both a perfect construction and an exquisite confection, and yet somehow it wasn't enough. I am not alone in this:"He goes to gaze out into the garden, vaguely dissatisfied. The room is clean, the bed stripped and made, the maid whipped, why isn't that enough?"For all of its hundred pages, I felt that I was in the presence of a master (and slave) craftsman. I didn't want it to stop, I wanted more from it, more of it, and isn't that, after all, the greatest compliment you can pay an author?Maybe it was my fault? Something in the way I read it?"Is there something missing in the manuals? No, more likely, he has failed to read them rightly. Yet again."Did I fail to read it rightly? Yet again? What more did I want? I don't really know. I suppose I am vaguely annoyed, no, angry, that, like life or sex or desire itself (as long as it doesn't become a grind), I didn't want it to come to an end. So soon. (view spoiler)[But, as does Coover, I repeat myself. (hide spoiler)]Master/Maid/Servant/SlaveThis is a wonderful exploration of the complementary, if not always reciprocal, bond between this particular master and maid, as well as the relationship between the Master and the Maid/Servant/Slave at a more general or allegorical level. Each needs the other, at least in the realm of literature, just as an author needs a reader to complete the act of fiction. It's not nearly as erotic or pornographic as I imagined or feared or hoped it would be. There are powerful psychological insights at work here. I was stunned to encounter these words, perhaps a description or explanation of my dilemma:"Maybe it's some kind of failure of communication. A mutual failure. Is that possible? A loss of syntax between stroke and weal?" (view spoiler)[The last sentence is one of my favourites of the year. (hide spoiler)]Does the author stroke and the reader feel the weal? (view spoiler)[Is it a public weal or private? Is it a common weal? I am ignorant of this kind of thing. (hide spoiler)]Who is in control in this relationship between author and reader?Play Up, Play Up and Play the GameAt the same time, the seriousness is tempered by an occasional comic tone (the sound of the whip, for instance: "Whish-SNAP! Hiss-WHACK! Whizz-CRACK! WHAP! THWOCK!" The way he refers to the maid's buttocks as her "sit-me-down") that cautions us not to take it or its subject matter too seriously.This work is at least partly a game, again, like life and sex, and I wanted the game to go on.I honestly expected it to be more overtly American or capitalist or commercial or exploitative in its embrace of pornography or its sexual subject matter. Instead, it is far more subtle in what I will tentatively and ineptly call a European manner, in the way that "Lolita" is just as much a European novel as an American one (as is "Gravity's Rainbow", in my opinion). Almost instantly I opened its pages, it smacked (if that's not the wrong word to use in this context) of Italo Calvino. It's interesting that Coover wrote it just three year's after "If on a Winter's Night a Traveler". It's almost a response to Calvino's call, like "If on a Winter's Morning a Maid (Walked in on her Spanker)". That's how good this novella is.Just Another Maid from the Agency(Pour Dominique)You will enter his suite, dressed in your black uniform with its starched white apron and lace cap, deliberately, gravely, circumspectly, without affectation. You will be circumspect in your motions, as you’ve been trained. It will seem as if this is the moment for which you have been created. Even if, by then, you will do the same thing every day. You will glance briefly at the unmade bed, but not dwell on its contents. Most likely, they will have been placed there to shock you into submission. You will observe his cast-off nightclothes. You will not pick them up yet. You will not hesitate as you open the curtains. You will sigh as the sunlight floods the room. You will sing a few lines of a country and western song, maybe something modern like “Constant Craving”. You will assume that he is not hiding in the suite somewhere, as he has done many times before. You will pick up your bucket and mop, and enter the bathroom. You will express surprise at finding him there. “Sir! I’m so sorry!” He will turn around to face you. You will observe that his towel is very wet. You will offer him a dry one. The wet towel will drop from his waist. You will look down on him. Your eyes will light up coyly, while he gazes at you. You will say, “Sir, what a big cock you have this morning!” As you have been instructed to. He will say that you have been a bad girl. You will ask him whether you should go out and come back in again later. He will say, “No.” You will ask him if there is any other way you can make amends. He will say, “No. You must be punished.” You will sob. He will ask, “Am I being unfair?” Now, you will say, “No, sir.” He will sit down on the edge of his bed and place you on his lap. He will lift your skirt above your sit-me-down. You will say, “I don’t understand, sir.” He will pull your drawers down and whip you, until the welts are hot enough to fry an egg. You will say, “You’ll draw blood, sir.” It will have no effect on him. He’ll push your skirt further up your torso. “WHAT?” He’ll say. “WHAT’S THIS?” He’ll fumble with it, turning it around, then realization will set in. “A WIRE?” Then he will look through the window at our apartment across the courtyard. He will see the video camera, and me behind it. Is that clear? Do you think you’re up to it?["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Staring·Girl
    2018-09-29 12:43

    Robert Coover had me at "No. Again."Σε ένα δωμάτιο με ιδιωτικό μπάνιο ο ανώνυμος αφέντης και η ανώνυμη υπηρέτρια είναι καταδικασμένοι να ζουν μια κουλή καθημερινότητα που την έχουν μετατρέψει σε ιεροτελεστία μέχρι να γίνει σωστά η "δουλειά". Δεν έχουν παρελθόν ή κάτι που να τους προσδιορίζει πέρα απ'τους ρόλους τους, είναι σαν να φύτρωσαν.Η "δουλειά" φυσικά ποτέ δεν γίνεται σωστά, το μόνο αποτέλεσμα της ακόρεστης τελειομανίας είναι η αποτυχία (άντε και τα τσιτωμένα νεύρα).Το "Spanking the maid" είναι ένα μεταμοντέρνο σφηνάκι χωρίς ίχνος ερωτισμού (Την πάτησες με τον τίτλο; Καλά να πάθεις!) όπου η πραγματικότητα πολλές φορές μπερδεύεται με το όνειρο, την γραμμική αφήγηση την ψάχνεις με τα κυάλια και ο παραλογισμός με τα λογοπαίγνια κάνουν πάρτυ.

  • Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
    2018-09-22 10:42

    For the entire book: two characters (both with no names), one setting. The characters: the master and his maid. The setting: his bedroom, with an adjoining bathroom. It happens everyday: the maid comes in early in the morning, with her cleaning paraphernalia (a mop, bucket, soap, etc.), the master either still in bed or already in the bathroom taking a pee. The maid would sometimes accidentally see his morning erection, sometimes while he's still in bed as she pulls off the blanket, sometimes in the bathroom as she surprises both of them while he's doing his morning rituals. Then she'll commit a mistake. She had forgotten to bring soap, the bed will be improperly made, there's dirt somewhere. She would then pull down her drawers, lift up her skirt, positions herself for his ministrations, and he would spank her using his hand, sometimes his belt, or a rod, etc. He invokes one's higher purpose, the need to give oneself to a mission, of the virtue of service. She prays ("Oh, teach me, my God and King, in all things thee to see, and what I do in any thing, to do it as for thee!") and screams in pain.Marquis de Sade was also fixated with bottoms. His tragedy, which Robert Coover didn't share, was that he never understood why.

  • Nate D
    2018-10-11 13:05

    Rigorously arranged repetition/variation (perhaps heavier on the repetition) around a maid, a master, and the solemn act of chastisement that binds them. What would otherwise be the entry point into some kind of obviously c-grade erotica, is here entirely altered by form, the relationship less erotic than mathematical, or really most of all linguistic. This is a book about semantic relationships, about puns, about obscure but insistent game rules (ie society ie religion ie morality ie ____) except that, because its grounded in the actual (habitual, perhaps eternal) act of spanking, this nonetheless resists overintellectuallization, remains earthy and perhaps tawdry. Quite brilliant, really, to manage that particular bit of conceptual juggling. Alright Coover, you've won my attention.

  • J Name
    2018-10-19 15:49

    I could write a whole book in response to this book which is how I feel. That is also basically the best feeling a book can give me as far as being a creative person goes. This book speaks directly to me. Some only have faith when life gives nothing to look forward to except a beating. This book hurts. It is the dream you can't wake up from that drags you into the horrors only you can invent. This is how I feel about this book.

  • knig
    2018-10-11 11:47

    Well, now I've seen everything. Slap n tickle surrealisticated, taken away from the Great Unwashed and artsy farstsified so the pretentious middle classes can quaff it publicly with Sancerre and no shame. Stylised to within an inch of its life, but its rictus dejuiced in the bargain: a dry heave, what ho!

  • Christopher
    2018-10-04 14:05

    I should have hated this, what with its Groundhog Day-like repetition, its plotlessness, its highbrow approach to the lowbrow, its infrequent but bleak philosophical overtures. But as it turns out, this book is just short enough to avoid being overly tedious and just well written enough to keep my attention despite its lack of coherent plot. Really, Coover is a pretty incredible craftsman of sentences, good enough to make what is essentially a writing exercise an engrossing and uncategorizable piece of literature.

  • Jon
    2018-10-02 12:50

    Only slightly less disturbing than "The Babysitter." I sometimes confuse Coover with Barthelme and then I think about how he hired those guys to mug Dan Rather and while they were beating him up they kept saying "what's the frequency Kenneth?" and then REM wrote that song that also makes me think of that other one they wrote, "Everybody Hurts" and then I just get bummed out and look out over a pond or something.

  • Marc
    2018-09-23 14:44

    A quick read, but fun and sharp. I loved the collapsing time and the objects appearing in the bed. Only bad thing would be that it reminded me a little too much of Alasdair Gray's (bigger, darker, more ambitious, and also very funny) 1982, Janine, but it wouldn't be fair to hold that against Coover. Janine are strongly recommended, though, if you enjoyed this one.

  • Ted Burke
    2018-10-07 09:02

    Robert Coover is one of the most interesting writers from that generation of meta-fictionists--he is what I think of when I think of a writer taking apart a narrative strategy and making the parts fit in new and maddening ways. Spanking the Maid was deliciously skewed where Robert Coover retells, reshapes, reformulates a hackneyed seduction scenario which adheres, in all the twisting and colorations, to the classic line of erotic writing; the excitement isn't in the getting , but in the anticipation of getting, in the suspense between subjects. Robert Coover makes the suspension that space where the senses are no aid to one's idea of self-empowerment. The Universal Baseball Association is a book I consider to be as close to a Great American Novel as anything of worth that's been published in the last fifty years. That I've read anyway. Origin of the Brunists is especially potent, and I think his writing on end-of-the-world cults is as potent as DeLillo's or Pynchon's, maybe even more so. What I find interesting is that these writers--Barth, Barthelme, Coover, Pynchon, Ronald Sukinec-- follow up on the proto meta-fiction Lawrence Sterne gave the world with the adventures of Tristam Shanty and the rather obvious and beguiling conceit that the characters are aware they are contained in book. So you're right, there's nothing new, as it were, in this kind of writing, but it does one well to see that the form can thrive with writers who can master their materials and the form and invent something that produces both pleasure and intellection.

  • Julian Darius
    2018-09-29 15:01

    This experimental novella has almost no plot, yet is enthralling. Scenes repeat again and again, altered each time, and words take on new meanings with each permutation. The result is a compelling psychological study that, unlike most experimental works, remains immediate and thoroughly readable. It's a wonderful demonstration of how experimental devices can be used in an engaging way -- a way that's narrative, without being ostensibly narrative, and immediately approachable, despite being so outre. It is, in short, a great accomplishment.

  • Balente1978
    2018-10-15 11:52

    Premessa: da sempre divoro i libri di Coover, e mai ne sono rimasta delusa. “Sculacciando la cameriera” è un racconto lungo, con due soli protagonisti. L’attempato padrone di casa e la giovane cameriera. Ed anche i luoghi sono sostanzialmente due: la camera da letto ed il bagno. Con l’aggiunta, sporadica ma preziosa, del giardino. Non vi racconto la storia: è di una brevità così perfetta che vi rovinerei la lettura. Però posso anticiparvi cosa vi aspetta. Vivere, nel pieno senso della parola, non significa meramente esistere o sussistere, ma darsi, dedicarsi interamente: a qualche altro scopo, agli altri, a una missione sociale, alla vita stessa oltre il guscio dell’ego… Una storia cupa, ma non tetra. Parole non dette e pensieri che si aggrovigliano, per abbracciarsi. La struttura a labirinto circolare: dove i protagonisti vivono ogni giorno identico (o quasi…) al precedente, anche nei contenuti dei dialoghi. Che poi dialoghi non sono: ma monologhi che si avvicinano. Sesso, deviazioni, bdsm: nulla viene celato, ma tutto è reso con intrigo ed il giusto velo di mistero, senza cadere mai nel trivio e nella volgarità. Breve, asciutto ed essenziale. Come una stoccata ben assestata.

  • Professorjames
    2018-10-14 15:07

    This is a fascinating exploration of the eternal Spanker's 'affliction' as it is portrayed, to repeatedly thrash, whip and strap the quivering upturned bottom of his desperately loyal maid and servant.The romance that curiously unfolds is both tender and vicious, and this is just how it should be according to this philosophical dance that embraces Spanking and dependence on the sweet surrender of the maid. The question of who is truly in control is teased out from the pages of delicious writing. Many of Robert Coover's novels lewdly undress the excitement and intimacy of punishing an exposed,quivering, naughty behind with a thrill behind every stinging stroke...of the pen.

  • John
    2018-10-01 13:00

    This one strikes me as the best, the most brilliantly incisive, of all Coover's toying with genres and their cliches -- and the zippy and often hilarious reiterations in this novella poke fun (to use an irresitable pun) at Victorian pornography. Coover takes the stern Master and submissive Maid through one fine spanking after another, in which the abuse is always skewed away from anything like actual titillation or simpleminded politics. Yet this brief dry-humored dream winds up exciting the higher realms of imagination, and penetrating -- ho ho -- to an essential metaphor of freedom and government.

  • George
    2018-10-02 13:47

    Spank, spank, spank, WHACK, WHACK, WHACK, you give me another damp towel I'll give you a THWACK!This was a very interesting read. First time with Coover, and it was a joy. I felt like I was reading a seductive Groundhog Day. For something that could be very repetitive, it was quite a pleasure. I liked all of the smilies Coover used to describe the " morning glory", "his erection dips back into his pajamas like a frog diving for cover." I felt like the maid was more in control of the relationship than the man.

  • Jibran
    2018-10-12 12:41

    A parable of power couched in a saucy S&M story that works on multiple levels. It's the creation of ideas through the free indirect speech that's to be savoured. The relationship between the man and the maid reminds you of the power imbalance sustained by the use of accepted ideas towards the attainment of some higher goal in unequal relationships such as between master and slave, company and worker, noble and commoner, bourgeois and prole etc. Fantastic stuff.

  • Josh Friedlander
    2018-09-21 10:56

    Linguistic splendour spread over a dark, sadomasochistic tableau. Every time this simple dreamlike story recurs, like Charlie Brown kicking the bull pizzle, some details are distilled into painful clarity, while others fade away. Puns and verbal flourishes are privileged; form over function. This is fiction for the world of dreams.

  • Cynthia
    2018-09-28 10:51

    Cute. The first time I read this, I totally missed the point. Duh. This time, it was almost sad to see that the Master was just as obligated to his "rules" as the maid was to him. Never thought of this dynamic in this way. Recommended read.

  • Michael
    2018-10-18 16:04

    Repetition doesn't kill the soul, it spanks it into awareness.

  • John
    2018-10-14 10:07

    I feel a bit deprived that I don't have the "illuminated version". This is slim novella. Experimental but also extremely repetitive. It's about adhering to ritual and routine and the title doing what is says on the tin. Honestly, I expected more from Coover (in regards to the Universal Baseball Association and The Public Burning)--but hey he manages to make tedium and repetition interesting (albeit only for a slim 100 pages. This one took a bit longer--because I didn't want to read this one on the bus.

  • Kastel
    2018-10-02 11:04

    The best way to describe this book is BSDM eternal recurrence.

  • Wyatt
    2018-10-22 13:07

    There's something nice about coming across a book and then suddenly realizing you've read the author before but like him/her better then second time around. That just happened to me with Danilo Kis and that's my experience with Coover now. His book, the Universal Baseball Assoc. was an interesting idea, but I couldn't actually get through to the end. Spanking the Maid is nice and slim so the circularity of the novella doesn't have time to ware on you or make one feel like they're lost in the acting out of someone else's post-modern literary masturbation narrative...though content-wise, it may be just that....I can't say I didn't enjoy it.

  • Karishma
    2018-09-28 15:44

    This book reminded me repeatedly of the movie, Secretary, the other whimsical, moving S&M story I know of. (Yeah, not you, never you, Fifty Shades!)I'm not quite sure I've understood it but I tore through this slim volume in less than half an hour, and I find myself reading it with a smile on my face. Imagine getting stuck in a spanking loop, yeah, the same scenario plays out over and over between Master and Maid, in his bedroom and bathroom. And as porntastic as this situation would otherwise have been, the writing is darkly comic at times and downright stunning at others.Recommended only for those who don't mind trying something quite deliciously different. *wink wink*

  • Conceicosta
    2018-09-22 15:56

    I think its a great story about two obsessed people (the master and the maid) that want to be perfect. The master should impose discipline to her maid in order she will become perfect. The maid accepts all the terrible things the master does to her because she also wants to be the perfect maid. She is not afraid of him, she wants challenge him as much as he wants correct her, treating his improper behavior as "normal"; it is a story about co-dependence, the rituals of all relationships and the strength (of the maid) of dealing with unusual things as common events.