In a quaint Austrian ski resort, things are not quite what they seem. Hermann, the manager of a paper mill, has decided that sexual gratification begins at home. Which means Gerti - his wife and property. Gerti is not asked how she feels about the use Hermann puts her to. She is a receptacle into which Hermann pours his juices, nastily, briefly, brutally. The long-suffering and battered Gerti thinks she has found her saviour and love in Michael, a student who rescues her after a day of vigorous use by her husband. But Michael is on his way up the Austrian political ladder, and he is, after all, a man. In Elfriede Jelinek's mitteleuropa, love is as distant from sex as the Alps are from the sea, and the everyday mechanics of husband, wife, and child become a loveless horror. Both a condemnation of the myth of romantic love and an angry defence of women's sexuality, Lust is pornography for pessimists. A bestseller throughout Europe, Lust confirms Elfriede Jelinek as the most challenging writer - female or male - in Europe today. It is a dark, dazzling performance.