Monday, October 11, 2010

Innocent Blood

Lately I've developed a affection for British crime novels written by the ladies (Sayers, James) and picked up Innocent Blood somewhere, probably for a quarter or free... I think I need to officially declare that Sayers shall heretofore be my go-to-lady-British-crime-novelist because James has done me wrong too many times.

Innocent Blood is kind of ridiculous. It's about a young woman, Philippa, who's adopted, and she finds out that her birth mother is in prison for murder. But, for various reasons, this doesn't really bother her, even though her birth mother and father were convicted of raping and murdering a child. So, when her mom gets out of prison, they rent a flat together and get to know each other, vaguely. Meanwhile, the father of the murdered child is trying to find the birth mother and kill her.

I found the whole thing unbelievable and the characters really under-developed. In the end (here come some spoilers...), it turns out the birth mother was greatly abused as a child herself (not surprisingly) and what James seems to be half-heartedly pursuing was the idea that violence and disregard for others is a result of nature. In the end, I mean, like the last two pages, Philippa ends up having sex with her adopted dad, which I just thought was a punch in the face after reading the damn thing and I was quite furious:
What, she wondered, had it meant exactly, that gentle, tender, surprisingly uncomplicated coupling; an affirmation, a curiosity satisfied, a test successfully passed, an obstacle ceremoniously moved out of the way so that they could again take up their roles of father and daughter, the excitement of incest without its legal prohibition.

See? That's exactly what I mean about unbelievable characters - nobody has sex with their adopted dad and calls it uncomplicated.

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