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My Dark Vanessa (book review) Kate Elizabeth Russell

200715: [book:Lolita|7604] from the girl's perspective is problematic characterisation. vanessa is not so clearly child but child becoming woman and discovering what sort of power her youth and beauty give her over certain men, weak men, manipulative men, and traversing psychological landscape without clear landmarks, guidance, protection. because, it must be remembered, when the book begins she is fourteen. even if physically she represents a woman, psychically she is still a child. and the irony of this is of course she will want to be thought in control, not abused, not victim, not repeatedly lied to, not having her entire life distorted, but seduced into an alternate world where this is great love affair...

reading this i wonder how it would work if the narrative were conventionally chronological, if the cultural markers were not so prevalent but rather mythic, time periods less defined, but such would be tending towards truly rewriting [book:Lolita|7604], with distracting wondrous language etc, and the realistic crumminess of the continuing abuse would have some 'artistic' sheen. rather than the direct, brutal truth of certain acts that highlight the irony of her refusal to allow perhaps he has truly fucked up her life. there is that novelistic strategy which induces us to sympathize with everyone, however bad, but her excusing him is the most tragic and plausible irony, and this makes it harder to sense him independent of her necessary delusions...

so maybe it is not as beautifully written as [book:Lolita|7604]- it encouraged me to look at my reviews of that book again- but 'beautiful writing' is not always the answer to leading somewhere near truth, anymore than long words or complex sentence structure is what we call 'beautiful'. but it is fluid, compelling read over two days, easy to appreciate, easy to offer five, with lived complexity of resolution that avoids simple answers for her life..

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