Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"So, JH. Sarah tells me you're a libertine?"
"Oh, yeah? Is that how she describes me? Huh. Well, I'd just call myself your average sex fiend."
I'm not really sure what I'd call him, frankly. Certainly a bit needy and definitely more than a bit seedy. Here is the kiss-and-tell-all profile from the publisher to lure you in further.
"JH and Sarah meet online, connecting on a regular basis for virtual hook-ups. Their unromantic connections, brief and solitary, eventually obsess JH, who tries to convince Sarah to meet him in person. A strange game of seduction ensues, eventually resulting in JH accepting a challenge of abstinence in the hopes of gaining intimacy with Sarah.
The Perineum Technique is a masterful meditation on intimacy in our era of hyperconnectivity, brilliantly employing visual metaphor in lieu of sexual explicitness - the couple's acts of online congress often begin with naked plunges off giant obelisks - to create a wildly original graphic novel tour through the subconscious of young romance.
Originally serialized in the pages of Le Monde, the prestigious French newspaper, THE PERINEUM TECHNIQUE is one of the country's most acclaimed graphic novels of recent years, by two of its most exciting creators."
Firstly, I'm extremely impressed that this was serialised in Le Monde, because it is certainly no holds barred stuff. Strikes me the editor of Le Monde must be a bit of libertine themselves to allow it. It's errr... rather racy stuff in places. I think modern erotica might be an appropriate phrase.
But it's actually primarily a character study of a rather unusual individual in J.H., a self-professed moderately famous avant garde artist who specialises in making video art. He's currently working on a piece that uses the metaphor of cutting ones' own fingers off as sexual arousal but he seems far more interested in getting to physical grips with Sarah.
There's also a second video involving Samurai that he's continually trying to progress but inspiration is repeatedly failing to strike, which of course isn't remotely helped by his state of complete and utter distraction, much to the chagrin of his faithful assistant Julie and video editor / Grindr king Jeremy.
After J.H. finally convinces Julie to meet him, she then propositions him in a most peculiar manner. At least, J.H. thinks it's a proposition... Given what he undertakes to do, or rather not do, hence the title of this work, for four months, he's certainly committed. Or perhaps just needs to be.
Perfectly capturing the absurdity of a "tour through the subconscious of young romance", this at times titillating tale may well have you frequently groaning in disbelief as well as pleasure. I genuinely had about as much an idea as J.H. as to whether he was going to get a happy ending, of any description. When we eventually got to the climax, it was rather satisfying, though, I have to say.
Delightfully light, delicate Euro-lines combined with a warm, if slightly subdued colour palette serves to give this work a somewhat surprisingly demure feel. It's very much in keeping with J.H.'s uncertain, somewhat reserved personality in that respect actually. I have also finally put my finger on a perfectly pointless point of comparison that was driving me mad with ever-increasingly pent-up frustration. I was convinced there was someone who used an identical lettering font, even down to the use of lower case 'i's surrounded entirely by capitals. I won't torture you trying to work it out for yourself, that'd be like asking someone not to, well you know, for four months, positively cruel. It's Guy BURMA CHRONICLES Delisle.
Anyway, if you fancy learning about what fabulous frolicking fancies the French get presented to them in their daily journals then this is for you. Not one to get caught in flagrante delicto reading on public transport, this is most definitely best consumed at home. Perhaps in conjunction with a coffee and croissant for the full Parisian effect.