Adios Scheherazade (1970) – Simon & Schuster

Have you ever wondered who writes sex novels? Who the camp followers of the Permissive Society, with their full frontal prose, really are? Wonder no more, this novel is about one such practitioner. His name is Ed Topliss, and he’s twenty-five years old.

It all started when somebody said if you can write a grammatical letter, you can write a sex novel. The formula: ten chapters of 5,000 words or fifteen pages each, one sex scene per chapter. Ed swallowed the bait, $1,000 a book, and in two and a half years he churned out twenty-eight formula novels. But now Ed has problems–he can’t get opus twenty-nine off the ground, if he fails to produce on time his grotty publisher will fire him, he’s flat broke and the bills are mounting, his marriage is visibly crumbling as he sweats over the typewriter and he can’t, he really c-a-n-n-o-t thump out the next novel.

Compulsively typing in fifteen page stints, he stumbles from aborted chapter to aborted chapter, punctuated by flashbacks and an up-to-the-minute chronicle of his furiously sliding, uncontrollable life. The end is a whirligig of fantasy, truth and disaster. It could be funny–it really is funny. But this ingeniously constructed novel is also terribly sad.

– From the jacket of the Hodder and Stoughton hardcover edition (UK, 1971)



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2 thoughts on “Adios Scheherazade (1970) – Simon & Schuster

  1. It’s been a long time since I read this, but as the narrator is explaining how to fill up pages by excerpts (indentation) the other technique was interior monologue or “oh my God he’s thinking again!” When I finally tackled “Ulysses”, this metaphor echoed in my head through all 8000 page of Leopold’s ..

    1. This is one I haven’t had a chance to read yet. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get around to Ulysses but this is definitely high on the list. And I’ll remember your comment!


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