Anne Serre, the remarkable French writer...writes in a manner...exploring the contours of female sexuality in its shocking, violent, racy, and mostly completely incomprehensible ways. That isn't to say that's all that Serre does. In fact, she does quite a bit more. In two of the three 'moral tales' that comprise The Fool, Serre is indeed very much like César Aira in that both often seem to depart from an autobiographical premise and move outward from there, exploring a cavernous terrain with a dark wit and more than a hint of improvisation ... What matters is the rumination through which Serre ramblingly leads me either to recognize myself...or an odd and funny fact I've never quite thought about ... When Serre sinks her teeth into human, often female, sexuality, she's peerless. That's a real feat, because Serre is not exactly in uninhabited territory. Her manner of exploring the taboo, for instance, puts her in conversation with fellow female Francophone writers Leila Slimani, Marie NDiaye, and Amélie Nothomb. Her way of questioning what society deems immoral seems of a piece with Amparo Dávila, Clarice Lispector, and Carmen Maria Machado. The difference, perhaps, is the dissonance between Serre's soothing, even prim prose and the alarming premises ... Countless times in my life the fundamental wrong-headedness of stories has made me object, without regard to the writer's self-awareness. But just a few writers—great misanthropic writers—navigate depravity in a manner so enthralling. In a manner that informs my objections rather than calling to mind old ones.
Symbols and signs take on life-changing meanings in Serre’s three sharp, sophisticated, and inventive tales ... Drawing on fairy tales and psychoanalysis, pornography and poststructuralism, Serre constructs stunning and searing stories that will remain with readers.
Serre...one of France's finest fabulists, returns in full force in this slim, freshly translated collection ... With her customary wit, Serre has created two competing narrators—the title character, who has no control over the story he's in, and the narrator of the story itself, who dishes up metacommentary on the morality of narration ... A strange, beguiling collection about the perils of desire in all its forms.