Salt on my Skin


The French erotic bestseller that conquered the hearts of millions of readers worldwide

Benoîte Groult’s most pioneering and best-loved work follows the passionate relationship between a pair of mismatched lovers—a Parisian intellectual and a Breton fisherman—brought together by lust. Through love-letters and exotic encounters around the world, their life-long affair evolves, liberating them from the restrictions and disappointments of everyday life. Thirty years after its initial appearance, this beautifully written erotic evergreen feels as fresh as ever with its unconventional, lighthearted, and carefree picture of female sexuality.

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Publication date

February 5, 2019




Benoîte Groult

By her own account, Benoîte Groult was a late-bloomer as an author and feminist. She was in her 40s when she first began writing … Read more


Book Club Questions

  1. George turns down Gauvin’s offer of marriage at the age of twenty. Why do you think that is? Do you think she was right to do so? How do you think she feels looking back at that youthful decision in later life?
  2. Which of the two, Gauvin and George, do you think is most honest with themselves about their feelings? Who knows themselves better? Explain.
  3. Do you think George and Gauvin’s relationship could have survived marriage? Why, why not? What would it have been like?
  4. Do you think people can escape their upbringing? Could George and Gauvin have met, in the long term, at a harmonious place between their two classes? Which of the pair do you think would have been more likely to adapt to the other’s way of being?
  5. Do you think Gauvin’s marriage was a happy one? Would he have led a happier life without the reemergence of George?
  6. How do you imagine Marie Josée’s life to be? Do you think she suspected her husband of cheating on her?
  7. Can you describe the advantages and disadvantages of George’s three other main relationships (Jean-Christophe, Sidney, François)? What did she get from these men that Gauvin lacked, and where did these men fail her?
  8. If you could describe George and Gauvin’s relationship in 5 words, what would they be? Discuss your answers.
  9. Throughout the novel George reflects a lot on the aging process – what sort of thoughts does she have as she grows older? How does she change as a person?
  10. What do you think is the function of her ‘chaperone’ within the story?
  11. This novel was originally published in 1988. What sort of effect do you think it might have had at that time? Why? How might the book be received differently today?
  12. What do you think about the language used to describe sex and passion in this novel? What do you think Groult was trying to emphasise by this way of writing, and does she achieve it?


‘A leading French feminist and writer, Groult drew wide attention with this sexually daring novel.” —New York Times

“A 1988 bestseller hailed for its frank descriptions of female sexual desire” —Variety Magazine

“A frank, no-nonsense writer resolved to claim her ‘place on the battlefield of feminism'” —Kirkus Reviews

“This beautifully written, elegant, moving, and sensual novel convinces the reader that a love story like this is possible. I closed it with a tear in my eye. Halfway between a classic romance and erotica, without ever flowing over on to one side or the other, Salt on my Skin is a magnificent universe of wonderfully truthful and shameless words.” —Livrogne

“A literary masterpiece that shines with insolent brightness” —The Evening Standard

“Benoîte Groult accepts the challenge of describing sex and pleasure from a female perspective—the difficulty that she consciously and conscientiously faces is to rewrite the precise manifestations of female desire with neither vulgarity nor ridicule.” —CATHERINE SLAWY-SUTTON, in The Contemporary Novel in France

“This book is delightful for its frequently beautiful prose, and appealing for how it deals with controversial subjects (abortion, female subjugation, sexism in language).” Publishers Weekly