- Sphinx by D.M. Thomas
Gollancz, 248 pp, £9.95, June 1986, ISBN 0 575 03611 7
I must declare an interest in this particular Thomas. Dylan, R.S., above all the heart-inscribed Edward – these I admire, respect, claim. D.M. I have had little luck with.
Vol. 8 No. 12 · 3 July 1986
SIR: Orgasm in Finnish is orgasmi, or, if you prefer a home-grown alternative, hekumanhuippu (‘peak of sensual pleasure’). Your reviewer Don Coles (LRB, 5 June) should know better than to take D.M. Thomas’s linguistic follies seriously. The latter’s hääyöaie means ‘wedding-night intention’, not something even a Finn would cry out in ecstasy. The umlauts which aroused Mr Coles’s concern are quite harmless (there’s even a hidden one in the y, prounounced ü): in Finnish they tend to come in clusters, like bats.