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Notes on and Quotes from Master of O by Ernest Greene

Dedicated to Nina Hartley (@ninaland)

In a penthouse apartment in downtown LA at night, a strong dignified handsome well-dressed older man embraces a beautiful black-haired woman wearing a stylish narrow leather o-ring collar and a low cut cocktail dress.

Who or What is the Master of O?

From the description of the novel on Amazon.com:

In a stylish, literate, and entertaining update of the classic Story of O, Ernest Greene brings Pauline Reage's tale of erotic submission to modern-day Los Angeles to look at it through new eyes. In Greene's version, the story is just as much that of brothers Ray and Steven, as it is about O, who serves them both.

Master of O includes detailed depictions of BDSM techniques like bondage, flogging, and electrical stimulation, but also explores the remarkable intimacy and trust that comes from being on either side of that equation with unflinching honesty.

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Review by Dan Angelriot

Master of O reimagines one of the most influential classics of BDSM literature as a realistic, psychologically convincing, and down-and-dirty Los Angeles noir novel with a smart practitioner's sensibility. When read on its own, it's a hot BDSM romance with an amazing eye for detail - but when read against the 1954 novel, it becomes a literary commentary - filling in gaps, making sense of the inexplicable, and finally (satisfyingly!) providing the ending that the book should have had all along.

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Quotes from Master of O by Ernest Greene


BDSM is violence without anger, pain without fear, and sex without shame.

There is no one true way but there are many false ways and they're not hard to spot.

Every wish was granted here, but there were always terms. At least, unlike the world at large, the terms were clear.

There was no hint of anger in anything he did, just pure sadistic enjoyment and gratitude for the woman who provided it.

He felt a wave of tenderness for her, as he always did toward those who endured to satisfy him.

He was only vicious enough to satisfy his needs and didn't seek limits as ends in themselves.

If I didn't like myself as I am I'd be some other way.

Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess.

Show me a master who doesn't give killer head and I'll show you one who is soon to be replaced.

If everything felt good, there would be no contrast and she needed that contrast.

Good hands never failed.

A whipped back, after all, is pretty much a whipped back no matter whose. The view from the front was often more dramatic.

She affected no air of being a goddess. She just was one ...

On Consent

Consent is more than just the absence of 'no.' It's an expression of mutual intent.

Why do you force me to make choices instead of just forcing me to do what you want?

There's no escape from choices ... Not to decide is still a choice.

The secret of being a successful dom is giving the right orders.

Order people to do what they want and they usually obey.

On Protocol

Gestures of authority were far more common than authority itself.

Steven never affected a commanding tone. His unfaltering politeness was a bit chilling ...

Unlike so many professional dominas, her manner was gracious if stern.

On Consensual Slavery

It's never impertinent for a slave to show off her ass.

Two things a slave can always do to make a good impression are kiss her Master's boots or show him her ass.

A slave's first duty is to get some when she can.

You know the one thing slaves are absolutely forbidden is modesty.

Don't ever worry about displeasing me ... I won't let you.

It's always my fault. That's part of my job description.

On Relationships

It's impossible to wreck a sound relationship from the outside.

[Their relationship] is a house of cards waiting for a stray breeze.

When you're not looking for others ... They tend to look for you.

Long ago O had decided that she would never need anyone or anything badly enough to fear their loss.

On Perfectionism

Marie smiled in a way unique to a perfectionist who is seeing something perfect.

O had not intended to be a pornographer, but like many other things she had not intended to be, she could only be the best at it.

O admired people like Ray and Steven and Marie who could keep many plates spinning simultaneously, but she was meant to spin plates one at a time to absolute perfection.


Do you have any idea what it's like to run a family business when you're not family?

It's unwise to be absolutely sure about anything.

I made his world into such a child-safe day nursery he never really had to grow up.

You know how some people give off a mean vibe even when they're trying to seem nice?

Work was the most reliable refuge from the unpredictability of a life without an organizing principle.

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In a penthouse apartment in downtown LA at night, a strong dignified handsome well-dressed older man embraces a beautiful black-haired woman wearing a stylish narrow leather o-ring collar and a low cut cocktail dress.

About the Story of O (Histoire d'O)

It is only when you make me suffer that I feel safe and secure."
- Dominique Aury writting as Pauline Réage
  Histoire d'O (Story of O)

  • I wrote the story of O by Geraldine Bedell Sat 24 Jul 2004 19.30 EDT
    It's an erotic classic yet it was written anonymously by a shy, intellectual French woman in honour of her secret lover. Fifty years on, Geraldine Bedell goes in search of Dominique Aury, one of the first women to write frankly about sex. (Published in The Guardian on Saturday 24 July 2004.)
  • The Story of the Story of O By Carmela Ciuraru. Published on June 15, 2011 in Guernica

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Related Reading

Literature, poetry, and film in a sadomasocistic context.