Biography & Memoir The Mistress Contract by She and He | Book Review Roundup | The Omnivore

Published on November 6th, 2013


The Mistress Contract by She and He

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Blurb: Based on intimate conversations recorded during the early years of their affair, The Mistress Contract is the story of the contract signed four decades ago between an anonymous couple (attributed in the book simply as She and He), and the unique relationship that ensued.

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The contract She – a highly educated, divorced woman with a successful career, three children and a history of involvement in the feminist movement – asked her lover to sign proposed the following terms: He would provide her with a home and an income, while She would provide ‘mistress services’ – ‘All sexual acts as requested, with suspension of historical, emotional, psychological disclaimers’. He agreed to her terms, and they found a kind of happiness that more traditional forms of commitment had never provided. They talked endlessly about why this was, and then began to tape their conversations. Now 88 and 93 years old respectively, She and He are still together.Was her suggestion a betrayal of all that she and the women of her generation had fought for? Or was it brave, honest, and radical?Provocative, unapologetic and inspiring, The Mistress Contract shines an unflinching and utterly compelling light on relations between the sexes and is bound to spark debate.

Serpent’s Tail (2013)

It’s touted as the new Fifty Shades – the ‘true’ story of a mistress’s sex contract with a married man. But is it all it seems? | Daily Mail

Rachel Cooke, The Observer

“Already adapted into a stage play by Emmy-winning writer Abi Morgan, which will run at London’s Royal Court theatre in the new year, the book offers a tantalising, no-holds-barred insight into the differences between the sexes, but it also hangs in that no man’s land between actual, graspable memoir (the lack of specific biographical information about the authors can’t help but leave a niggling doubt about its truthfulness) and theoretical tract.”

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Zoe Williams, The Guardian

“What I found most interesting, most inky, was an almost throwaway remark he makes about her depression: “you were a better screw when you were depressed than any other time because you were so absolutely open, yielding, accepting. You were earth-body.” She doesn’t pick it up, preferring to interpret it as each offering support to the other’s suffering. But he keeps on. “I don’t think it speaks well for either of our characters. It’s the vulture part of our natures.” More like that, I thought. Less abstraction, less obfuscation, more detail, more unpalatable honesty.”

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