book cover of The Dangerous Memoir of Citizen Sade

The Dangerous Memoir of Citizen Sade

A novel by

The Dangerous Memoir of Citizen Sade takes us through the most frightening period of the French Revolution, the "Terror" of 1793-4.
The story is told through conversations between two celebrated writers, Choderlos de Laclos (author of Dangerous Liaisons) and the erstwhile Marquis de Sade, who were locked up together for ten months. Although each of them dislikes the other, they have to pass the time somehow. They decide they will dictate their life stories to each other. They toss up to decide who dictates first. Laclos wins, and to his great annoyance it is Sade's task to write down "The Memoirs of a Retired Captain of Artillery who never Discharged so much as a Popgun at any Living Thing and whose Wife must resemble a Mammoth Frozen in Ice, as dictated by M. Pierre Ambroise Francois Choderlos de Laclos to his Ever Servile Clerk ...", instead of talking about himself. This document is dangerous to Laclos because, for the duration of its dictation, Robespierre is still alive, and very active.
Laclos's own selection from his working life is accurate: "Never an assault or a siege, a book that everyone misunderstands, a political coup that captured only ridicule." Even so, his wiliness, his Rousseauesque humanity, and his deadpan wit are resources that enable him to survive Sade's abuse, self-dramatising, and overbearing appetites, just as he survived his close association with the cousin of the King, the Duke of Orleans.
The story of the two men's confinement together is set in context by an introduction and postscript written by a fictitious academic, who is struck by the consonances between Paris after the Revolution and Berlin after the Wall came down.

A.C.H.Smith lives in Bristol when not in France. The Dangerous Memoir of Citizen Sade was written while he was writer-in-residence at the University of Texas. As well as books, he is the author of twenty plays for stage and screen. See his website, Reviewers of his earlier novels have remarked:

... the unrelaxing concision, venom, and care of his style. One reads, because he writes.
- Hilary Corke, The Listener

The sort of understatement that reminds me a little of the early, black, hilarious Evelyn Waugh.
- Isabel Quigly, Sunday Telegraph

A sophisticated and civilized comedy ... taut and stimulating.
- Times Literary Supplement

By any standard a brilliant tour de force.
- The Times

A durable literary talent.
- Daily Telegraph

A wild comic imagination.
- Cambridge Evening News

A solid, cunning book.
- Lorna Sage, The Observer

A gripping narrative gift.
- Nina Bawden, Daily Telegraph

Behind every quiet sentence lies an explosion of ideas. It's a novel to be read again and again.
- Woman's Journal

Genre: Historical

Used availability for A C H Smith's The Dangerous Memoir of Citizen Sade

Hardback Editions

March 2000 : UK Hardback

Title: The Dangerous Memoir of Citizen Sade: A Novel
Author(s): A C H Smith
ISBN: 1-85135-033-0 / 978-1-85135-033-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Loxwood Stoneleigh
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Kindle Editions

February 2012 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition

Title: The Dangerous Memoir of Citizen Sade
Author(s): A C H Smith
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA