I look back at the screen. A vast, ocher city materializes in a sequence of fragments like hints of a great image which has been shattered. We are confronted with the brilliant parts. Corners of streets. Trollies. Splendid fronts of buildings too far distant to really see. I sit there receiving occasional droughts of Madame Job’s perfume. I’m surprised at it’s strength. There’s not much flesh for it to draw warmth from—those skinny arms. She has marvelous skin, though. Her face seems very clean.
—James Salter, A Sport and a Pastime
Read Banned Books is a promotion from openroadmedia that brings censored literature directly into the hands of readers. Select e-book prices are available 60% off until September 30. Simply enter a valid email address and a digital voucher will me emailed directly to you. For more details and to see the full list of discounted titles, click here.
What’s it about?
A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter is a novel about Ivy League-dropout Philip Dean, a young Frenchwoman named Anne-Marie and the unnamed, unreliable narrator that catalogs their brief, salacious and experimental love affair in 1950s France.
Why was it banned?
Lot’s of sex.
Philip and Anne’s relationship is entirely physical; her being naive and impressionable, and Philip thoroughly taking advantage of that fact and the popularity Americans has in France after WWII. In fact, the depictions of oral and anal sex in the novel violated Sodomy Laws in the United States, some of which are still in effect in certain states.
Why shouldn’t it be banned?
Most of the explicate scenes are fantasies of our unreliable narrator. There’s no way to authenticate whether Philip and Anne’s sexual stomp-around actually happens. But the depictions alone were enough to condemn it. This novel could be suitable for upperclassmen and AP courses if you can teach sexual politics in interpersonal relationships effectively. It’s also a great example of examining the reliability of narrators and the author’s choice to use them.
Plus, you know your students are sure as hell going to read this.
Is it coming off the blacklist anytime soon?
In a nation that can’t even get behind a comprehensive sex education curriculum? Probably not.
Where can I find it?