Belinda is the title of a novel by Anne Rice, originally published in 1986 under the pen name Anne Rampling.
Belinda follows in the footsteps of Exit to Eden as another novel which tackles the darker side of human romance. Whereas the latter novel explored BDSM, Belinda explores the relationship between a grown man and an underage girl. It is in some sense erotica, but there is much more to the book than that.
The novel explores the relationship between a 44 year old divorced children's book artist (Jeremy Walker), and a 16 year old teenage runaway who attaches herself to him. Unaware of who Belinda really is, Jeremy falls in love with her and paints her portraits nude. When he discovers Belinda's true identity, things unravel quickly as his career and freedom are threatened, as well as the love he feels for Belinda. Part of the adult fiction oeuvre of Anne Rice, the novel narrates explicitly the sexual union between Walker and Belinda.
The primary controversy in Belinda
is that it deals with an illegal relationship, as the age of consent in California, where most of the novel is set, is 18. Jeremy must face accusations that he is a child molester, and the book has a definite heritage in controversy
fiction such as Lolita
, by Vladimir Nabokov
. Its pages are filled with relationships with large age gaps both in the present and the past: G.G. and Ollie, G.G. and Alex, Jeremy and Alex, Marty and Belinda. Although Belinda
is the only character who is a minor, and is much younger than any of the other players, Rice asks us in this novel: can love be genuine, and more importantly, be moral, when it transcends so many years?
was published originally in hardcover in October 1986.