Mrs Rosie and the Priest by Giovanni Boccaccio
Four hilarious and provocative stories from Boccaccio's Decameron, featuring cuckolded husbands, cross-dressing wives and a very bad priest.
This is the first novel in the Little Black Classic series by Penguin; a very exciting and promising collection, so exciting and promising, in fact, that I felt the need to buy all eighty of them. I plan to read them alongside my current reading list, so as not to make any books feel left out.
Having heard many things of Boccaccio, but never actually read him, it was great to have him as the first author of this collection. The book was comprised of four short stories, all of which featured strong, intelligent, and seductive women. The stories feel timeless in the way they were written, and I could almost have been fooled Boccaccio was a modern writer. This, of course, could be down to the translation, but the stories seemed terribly contemporary despite being written in the fourteenth century, particularly with the women enjoying sex as much as men (with some hilarious dancing around this taboo subject from the author).
It was interesting to see the lives of those in this era, with some disturbing emotional abuse occurring in the final story. The sheer power perversion bothered me, but has to be written off as a product of that time in history.
So here lies the proof; fourteenth century literature can be cheeky as hell. An excellent choice for the first book in what is looking to be a wonderful collection.