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The Torture Garden Paperback – 1 Mar 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Bookkake (1 Mar. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906110026
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906110024
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,302,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ophelia on 21 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
Having read other people's reviews of this book I can see that if you look at it from those perspectives then yes Mirabeau pushed the boundaries etc. What I found when reading this book is that I haven't the stomach for such horrors! I expected a trip into sensuality, instead I get a woman who is so demanding and changable that I want to hit her, a man so fauning and miserable I wonder why he continues on this horrific journey. The tortures themselves are so diabolical that I had many nightmares whilst reading this and I recommend that anyone who attempts this should seriously consider whether they really want to read a book which describes people being skinned alive, animals being trapped so that they will bore into human flesh and rotting meat being thrown to people being starved so that they will rip each other apart to eat it. I do believe people should be able to choose freely what they watch, read etc but at least have an informed choice!
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By CityMach on 25 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read the other reviews on here (and Wildes recommendation!), and being a fan of this type of literature anyway, I decided to give this book a try. Despite having a cover that mimics a bad black lace novel (oh come on, it really does!) I was pleasantly surprised that the old adage is true and you can't, indeed, judge a book by its cover.
The book is divided into two distinct and utterly different parts. The first deals with society as a whole, discussing the various politics, hypocrisies and foibles of the (then) modern 'civilised' life and building up the introduction to the second part. On it's own, this text represents a wonderful and thought-provoking read, the only slight criticism being that it does lean towards being an unnecessarily long introduction to the second part of the book; The Torture Garden itself.
The second part is made up of wonderfully illustrative, creative writing which, when coupled with smatterings of horror and torture, make for a fascinating and interesting read. The 'love interest' in this book takes the form of Clara, a beautiful and wealthy woman with a taste for the unusual. Clara is described beautifully, as are her surroundings, and you read in fascination as she seems to become detached, lustful, unstable, perverse and everything in between throughout this incredible second part.
*Slight spoiler* The main character makes an interesting transition through the book; from a criminal and a rogue, who sees himself as the darkest and most evil of creatures, who becomes what can only be described as a simpering and whining fop who, by the end of the book, seems utterly incapable of controlling his emotions.
It does have to be said, the book is not quite as shocking as some of the other reviewers may have you believe.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 July 1998
Format: Paperback
Torture garden has been compared to the Marquis de Sade. It begins quite normal, a drawing room discussion, the subject however is murderers and their role in society. After this it develops into the most cruel book i've ever read, a decadent story that ends in the Torture Garden, a chinese garden with the most horrific tortures imaginable. Distorted views on beauty, mixed with blood and flowers. Life is as important as death. "Passions, appetites, greed, hatred, and lies; law, social institutions, justice, love glory, heroism, and religion: these are it's monstrous flowers and it's hideous instruments of eternal human suffering" Octave Mirbeau is an original and powerful writer. Underneath the surface of this book lies his motive, to expose the hypocrisies of society; to shock the reader into a realisation that much of what he takes for granted is cruel and ugly. Like Sade, Mirbeau was an atheist, and at that time that was something outrageous. he knew what good and evil was, but what bothered him was that in the so called civilised society, so much evil was portrayed as good, and most people didn't notice or care. In torture garden he set out to show people what their world, behind it's hypocrisies, was really like.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By HonestChap on 10 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
This version of the book is dreadful. The text had mistypings on virtually every page, making an already obtuse read a real struggle to get through.

The content itself is difficult to enjoy, being both deliberately unpleasant and meandering. I will give the benefit of the doubt and say that I didn't personally spot any significant insight, skilled allegories or meanings in the story. Indeed the initial few chapters of discussions of the nature of murder left me completely cold and seemed to revel in pointless unpleasantness. I endeavoured to complete the book in the hope of some subtle story arc being resolved but I found none. I bow to any learned literature experts who can find the hidden value in this book.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By "vi1917" on 8 Oct. 2002
Format: Paperback
Wilde's beautifully poetic description of this materpiece of decadence is the perfect synopsis of this great work of nineteenth century anarchism. Mirbeau's form and style switch between the comic and caustic, as the narrator continues his Heart of Darkness style journey into the Orient. Set against the background of the opening of China in the nineteenth century by the European powers, Mirebau brilliantly explodes the myth of Western ideas of supperiority and insulaity that imperialism spreads. For many, the vivid metaphors of sado-masochism are difficult to stomach, but the juxtaposition of the depravity and exploitation with the decadence of nineteenth century French high society is perfectly pitched. A seminal, crucial work that firmly establishes Mirebau as one of the great French writers of the nineteenth century with Rimbaud and Zola. In these belligerent times, it is even more apt
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