The first US publication of a dreary French novel of existential agony and absurdly serious erotica."" My lover's buttocks were unusual. . .two really comfortable little ladies, frolicsome and chubby, naughty camp followers, benevolent and well-stuffed goddesses, guardians of the sanctuary, 'sesame' to an Ali Baba's cave of forty different smells. . .low-slung riches. . .beautiful shells, beautiful shells, beautiful prows, beautiful conches, unchangeable chassis."" The time is 1979, the place a French passenger liner steaming towards the Orient. The fanny phile speaking is a bitter cripple named Franz, confined to a wheelchair and forced to watch as the owner of the derriÃ‰re in question (his wife, Rebecca) flirts with half the ship. His listener is the novel's narrator, 30-year-old high-school teacher Didier, who is heading for India with his beautiful girlfriend, Beatrice, Because Didier himself is enamored also of the cruel Rebecca, he is willing to sit still as Franz relates tale after tale about Rebecca's sexuality, her fickleness, her viciousness in causing the accident that paralyzed Franz, and the various scatological humiliations she subjected him to thereafter. Didier feels only pity for Franz--until the New Year's Eve party on shipboard, when he discovers he's been a dupe in a pitiless game played by the paraplegic. The poor Didier will end the novel brooding in an Istanbul prison. Laughable drivel disguised as a cynical, sophisticated love story. Bruckner also wrote the non-fiction The Tears of the White Man: Compassion as Contempt (1986).