Man at Leisure


Den Browne and James S Finn read Alexander Trocchi’s Man at Leisure and Helen and Desire.

Originally published under the pseudonym of Frances Lengel, Trocchi’s first novel Helen and Desire is written from the perspective of its eponymous heroine, Helen Smith, a late 1940′s Australian girl living in a small sea village with her well-off and pious father.

A bored teenager burning with intense sexual desires who despises the repressed and restrictive community she was brought up in, especially “the mute fatalism of men who could live and die in an isolated village like ours”, Helen decides to escape the cage of small-minded parochialism and seduces a local man to take her away.

“To be a house-slave as my mother was, to lose my freedom and adapt myself to his absurd male requirements! This was my first experience of this kind of idiotic male presumption—why do they assume that because we have need of their bodies we will be willing to submit ourselves to the drab pattern of their everyday existence?”


One Response to Man at Leisure

  1. Den Browne says:

    Thanks all for bringing this together so beautifully. I had a feeling last night that we were doing this at a significant time – sure enough, this Thursday, April 15th is the anniversary of Alex’s death in 1984.