My cell phone seems to be a casualty of the vacation - if you're trying to reach me, e-mail is currently the best bet. This will surprise few people.
As part of my homeward reading, I picked up Frank Yerby's GILLIAN. Holy cow. Appalling sections included a lecture by a Frenchman on how to beat a woman so she'll behave (he suggests breaking both her arms), several rapes disguised as teaching a woman what she really wants, a passage on "colored servants" that was so vile I don't even want to recap it, and a villainess corrupted by childhood voodoo rituals enacted by her nursemaid. And yet, the one thing that was definitely established about the title character was that she was not a lesbian, since apparently that's worse than any of the aforementioned behaviors. Date of publication: 1960. (It was a pretty limited selection at the used book store, as you can probably tell.)
Most incomprehensible passage:
I saw that she was as naked as the day she was born--no--nakeder! It was not the round, pink, soft, dimpled nudity of a young girl. For the demanding changes of pubertry had taken place early in her. Gillian had been all woman since she was thirteen. That night Gillain didn't look like a woman at all. She looked female!
Can we all join together in a round, pink, soft, dimpled wtf??