Flashback Friday: Dangerous Liaisons

Flashback Friday is my own little weekly tradition, in which I pick a book from my reading past to highlight — and you’re invited to join in!

Here are the Flashback Friday book selection guidelines:

  1. Has to be something you’ve read yourself
  2. Has to still be available, preferably still in print
  3. Must have been originally published 5 or more years ago

Other than that, the sky’s the limit! Join me, please, and let us all know: what are the books you’ve read that you always rave about? What books from your past do you wish EVERYONE would read? Pick something from five years ago, or go all the way back to the Canterbury Tales if you want. It’s Flashback Friday time!

My pick for this week’s Flashback Friday:

Dangerous Liaisons

Dangerous Liaisons (Les Liaisons Dangereuses)

by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

(published 1782)


Published just years before the French Revolution, Laclos’s great novel of moral and emotional depravity is a disturbing and ultimately damning portrayal of a decadent society. Aristocrats and ex-lovers Marquise de Merteuil and Vicomte de Valmont embark on a sophisticated game of seduction and manipulation to bring amusement to their jaded lives. While Merteuil challenges Valmont to seduce an innocent convent girl, he is also occupied with the conquest of a virtuous married woman. Eventually their human pawns respond, and the consequences prove to be more serious-and deadly-than the players could have ever predicted.

I fell head-over-heels in love with the 1988 movie version of Dangerous Liaisons, with all its twisted, sick manipulations and one-upmanship in which other people are sacrificed for the sake of an all-important victory. After seeing the movie, and gasping in amazement at the over-the-top way the characters glory in casually destroying other people’s lives, I knew I had to know more.

Granted, the book doesn’t have the 20th century finishes of the movie, but this epistolary novel has all of the intrigue and mind games you’d expect. Told through letters, we get an inside look into some very twisted minds, and it’s an amazingly complex web that’s woven, in which reputations, marriages, and lives are ruined on a whim.

Of course, I couldn’t read the book without all of these pictures in my head:

According to Wikipedia, there are six different movie adaptations of Dangerous Liaisons, including the much lighter (and less successful, as far as I know) Valmont (1989) and the crazy New York teen version Cruel Intentions (1999), which starred Sarah Michelle Gellar and Reese Witherspoon:


Not to mention various TV, radio, opera, and ballet versions of the story, and even, apparently, a 2013 e-book called Dangerous Tweets, retelling the story entirely in (yes) tweets. Ooooookay, then.

Have you read the book? Do you have a favorite movie version? What other books could be retold via Twitter?

Happy Friday, and enjoy your flashbacks!


Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

3 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: Dangerous Liaisons

  1. I really loved Cruel Intentions. It’s still the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the song “Bittersweet Symphony.” Never have read the source material though (or seen any of the other adaptations).

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