A French author has written in graphic detail about her eight-month affair with disgraced IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, calling the relationship "field work" for a controversial new book.
The book by Argentinian-born Marcela Iacub, a columnist with the left-wing daily Liberation, was denounced by Strauss-Kahn and the wife he has separated from, journalist Anne Sinclair.
In "Beauty and the Beast," due to be released on February 27, Iacub says she had a relationship with Strauss-Kahn from January to August 2012, in the midst of the scandal over accusations he sexually assaulted a New York hotel maid.
She doesn't name Strauss-Kahn in the book, but she told Thursday's Le Nouvel Observateur magazine that it was about him, while admitting that she had mixed fiction with reality.
"The steps of the affair, the locations, the words reported, everything is true," she said, though she said she took poetic licence with the sex scenes.
Crude language abounds in the book, in which she calls the main character "half-man, half-pig", though she considers the word pig a compliment.
"What there is that is creative, artistic, in Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the beautiful things, belong to the pig and not to the man," she said.
She said she got to know Strauss-Kahn when her book "A Society of Rapists" was published. In that work she criticised feminists who attacked her future lover after his arrest.
Iacub's new work is the latest in a long line of books, plays, TV shows and movies on the spectacular fall from grace of a man who was once tipped to become France's next president.
The Socialist politician in December agreed a financial settlement with the hotel maid whose 2011 allegation of sexual assault forced him to resign from the International Monetary Fund.
But the silver-haired 64-year-old is still being investigated in France as part of a probe into allegations he procured prostitutes for sex parties in Europe and in Washington.
Strauss-Kahn "does not despise women. It's sex he despises," Iacub said, adding "This man is not a rapist and he is not nasty."
According to excerpts published in the French press, the book touches on the incident in New York and the cases in France against Strauss-Kahn, as well as his relationship with Sinclair, his fabulously rich wife of 20 years who announced last July that she had split from her husband.
Iacub said she had warned Strauss-Kahn that she was writing a book.
In a letter sent by Strauss-Kahn to the Nouvel Observateur, he did not deny having an affair with the writer but slammed "the behaviour of a woman who seduces to write a book and relies on loving feelings for financial exploitation."
"Beyond the fantastic -- and therefore incorrect -- nature of this story, this is a despicable affront to my private life and dignity," said Strauss-Kahn, who said he had instructed his lawyers to look at legal means to "fight this abomination".
Sinclair, who is also not named in the book but was interviewed by Iacub, accused the author of having given a "misleading and venomous" account of their interview and engaging in "defamatory and delusional" interpretation.
She said she was also considering taking "appropriate action".