Candy (Southern and Hoffenberg novel)  

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Candy is a 1958 ribald novel written by Maxwell Kenton (pseudonym of Terry Southern) in collaboration with Mason Hoffenberg published by Olympia Press. It was later published in North America by Putnam under the authors' own names. The story owes its plotline to Voltaire's Candide.

In 2006, Playboy Magazine listed Candy among the "25 Sexiest Novels Ever Written", and described the story as a "young heroine's picaresque travels, a kind of sexual pinball machine that lights up academia, gardeners, the medical profession, mystics and bohemians."[1]

The novel was made into a film by Christian Marquand in 1968 as Candy.

Plot summary

Candy Christian, aged eighteen, is an extremely pretty and desirable but naive young woman, who finds herself in a variety of farcical sexual situations as a result of her desire to help others. The men in her life, regardless of age or relationship, wish only to possess her.

Having eluded the pursuits of her philosophy instructor Prof. Mephisto, she returns to her father's house, where she plans to allow the family gardener to sexually initiate her. However, her father steps in, and angrily denouncing the gardener as a communist, attacks him and in the ensuing scuffle ends up with a fractured skull. Candy visits him in the hospital. Mr. Christian's twin brother Jack and his lascivious wife Olivia (Liv) are also present. Liv leaves, and Jack attempts to have sex with Candy; a nurse enters and wrestles him away from the girl, who escapes, only to find herself in the lair of young Dr. Krankeit, who is studying the salutary effects of masturbation. (Aunt Liv also has an adventure with Krankeit, which she later describes to Candy in a cheery letter.) Back in the hospital room, the patient (in identical head-bandages after the scuffle with the nurse) turns out to be Jack; Candy's father has gotten up quietly and left.

On her way to work, Candy encounters a perverted hunchback, whom she takes for a sort of performance artist and invites to her apartment. Subsequently she is propositioned by school friends in a cafe, and by a gynecologist who overhears their conversation and gives Candy an "exam" in the bathroom. The cafe is raided by police and Candy escapes with the help of Pete Uspy, an anti-materialist (the only man in the novel with no designs on Candy's body) who sends her to the camp of the peace activist Crackers. Their leader Grendle is a would-be guru who talks Candy into intercourse by couching it in metaphysical terms. When Candy fears she is pregnant, he tells her the next phase of her spiritual journey is beginning, and buys her a one-way ticket to India. Candy is meditating in a temple in Benares, along with a turbaned pilgrim who sits nearby, when an earthquake occurs. She finds herself pinned between the fallen statue of Buddha and the pilgrim. As he has the usual physical reaction experienced by men in Candy's proximity, she becomes aware of his identity, and the novel closes with her cry of recognition.

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