The country that produced such erotic works as “The Story of O” and “Henry and June” is devouring “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
The E.L. James-penned tale of bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism, or BDSM, has sold an astonishing 150,000 copies in France since it was released two weeks ago, according to an Agence France-Presse account carried by France 24.
That makes the book, centering on a virgin who agrees to become a gorgeous billionaire’s sexual submissive, the fastest-selling book in French history.
Readers clearly were not deterred by the fact that critics in the country panned the book as “crass pseudo-porn,” as the Daily Mail reported.
Meanwhile, the French translation of the book, “50 Nuance de Grey,” is also a hit in Quebec, the Toronto Star said.
First published last year, “Fifty Shades of Grey” has taken the world by storm. The novel, begun as “Twilight” fan fiction, has sold a whopping 40 million copies worldwide. It has also been translated into 40 different languages. Although erotica doesn’t usually make best-seller lists, “Fifty Shades” and its two follow-ups -- “Fifty Shades Freed” and “Fifty Shades Darker” -- have held places on such lists for 35 weeks, according to the BG News in Bowling Green, Ohio.
In March, Universal Pictures/Focus Features purchased the film rights to the book, presumably for more than the $5 million Sony had previously bid for them, as noted by the Huffington Post.
Speculation as to who will star as the naive Anastasia Steele and the domineering Christian Grey has set online fan sites ablaze.
Even U.S. President Barack Obama has been unable to avoid the erotic novel. Obama referenced “Fifty Shades” in a segment of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" Thursday, as pointed out by Enstarz. He has also been asked about the book during interviews on "Entertainment Tonight" and “The View."