Book Spotlight: Spanking The Maid

I remember excitedly discovering this book at my college’s library in the prehistoric pre-Internet era, on a quest for any book featuring the ‘s’ word. Robert Coover, known as a specialist in experimental fiction, offers a strange tale basically, as I recall, of a man who is absolutely obsessed with spanking his maid. This slim volume goes into some detail on that point!

The book is a post-modernistic (?) allegory of some sort, half satire and half comedy, that went straight over my head when I read it in college — though I found it…errm….quite….arousing actually to read.

The following erudite reviewer at has a better grasp though perhaps incomprehensible view on the literary intricacies of this book, though I have not the slightest of what he is rambling about in the following brief dissertation. Free prize to anyone than can decipher this:

“Taking a cue from Raymond Queneau’s “Exercises in Style,” and his own short stories featured in “Pricksongs and Descants,” what would seem to be only an experiment develops into a real commentary on self-reference and post structuralism. Coover’s treatment of the master-slave, dominant-submissive relationship serves to show the sado-masochistic exchange that exists in language when that language becomes “meta” language, or language about language. In this way all “criticism” is “criticized,” begging the question: if meta language is sado-masochistic, what is meta-meta language? The novel also works despite its subject matter– if Coover had chosen some other setting, one could still delight in the way he weaves repitition into an ongoing cascade, each permutation the same and wholly different. Chaos theory as literary genre? Now who’s being sado-masochistic?”

Editor’s Note: Um…….Huh??

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4 thoughts on “Book Spotlight: Spanking The Maid”

  1. Hey, Dave, I read that book, too, once, and I all remember from it is that he spanked her in different places, she submitted to it, and pretty much nothing else! LOL
    I have no idea what the reviewer wanted to say, either!


  2. Dave, I don’t know what the reviewer is saying either, but I’d love to sing a Pricksong! And I often reference myself, sometimes after self-spanking! I’m going to have to check this book out.

    Reesa, did you like the book? Did he spank her in different places on her body, or in different locations?


  3. LOL I see that my meaning was just as vague as the reviewers – !

    He spanked her all over the house, mostly. I did like the book but it seemed to lack feelings – which is fine if you just want the descriptions without the emotional aspects!


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