Sunday, May 21, 2006

Rosie Blau interviews Jilly Cooper

at (the title of the piece is "Size matters for the queen of bonkbusters"):

There are other firsts in this book: a condom ("I was told to put it in by my editor"); dumping by text; and Cooper finally had to ditch the word "bonk" for "shag" to keep up with the times ("Bonking is rather wholesome, isn't it?").

So has Cooper lost her fizz? Not at all, she says, but her previous books were set in wilder times: the 1960s and 1970s rather than the puritanical 2000s. "And I'm much older now. I'm nearly 70 and so you do have much less recent experience to draw on."

Cooper is still learning about the darker side of sex, however. "I didn't know what STDs were before this book. There was no reason that I should because I'd been writing about the art world." Is the art world really immune to sexually transmitted diseases, then? "Well no, but . . . " Jilly Cooper pauses. "Tell me what are STDs, really?"

Proclaiming herself "too old" for feminism, she argues that: "If you discredit men so much, sexually he won't be able to perform. I think this is happening. The sperm count is plummeting and it's about the male ego. Partly, anyway."

But the bonkbuster lives on, even if we're not allowed to "bonk" any more and men can't manage it. In contrast, the stars of the growing chic lit genre lack charisma, says Cooper. Writers now are "very funny and clever but I do think they've added far too much water to their men. I hope mine are more fun. They're more attractive. You probably wouldn't want to marry them, though."

Oh, I really can't wait for this book, perhaps I should go downstairs & see if the Amazon UK box is lurking in the mail area (but really I am going to fall apart if I do not sleep for a long time tonight, I had better resist because if it's there it will kill me not to stay up and read it tonight). In any case, I feel sure you'll be hearing more from me about Jilly Cooper in days to come (English readers are rolling their eyes at this point, American ones just puzzled, but you must trust me when I say that while I can't exactly recommend these books to readers of, say, dark contemporary noir or interesting young-adult fantasy or for that matter beautifully-sentenced literary fiction they are certainly amazingly addictive, and in a strange way quite distinctive and appealing).

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