Sunday, August 06, 2006

Pulp Fiction and Me.........

I just finished a recreational read, Martina Cole's
'The Take'. I have long read her books as they are pulp fiction at it's best, but what makes her interesting is that she does write from a female perspective on what is usually male territory. We have the stereotypical villians of gangster novels, but we also hear about the women who love them, who veer between Zolaesque pathos akin to Gervaise from
'L'assomoir',and sometimes self awareness which ends in their redemption. The men usually are full of self justifications and macho bravado.

'The Take' got some bad reviews from Amazon, with readers effectively complaining that the characters were both dislikable and stereotypical. But hey, have they only just caught on? Stereotypes are the norm of this kind of fiction and ultimately make it what it is. Freddie Jackson was the archetypal villian, a sociopathic personality with an uncontrollable temper and attractiveness to women. In my mind he physically bore a strong resemblance to Heathcliffe. His alcoholic wife Jackie slits her wrists in a pulp Brontesque act of tragedy in response to his predictable death at the hands of his cousin who can take no more of his shit. Jackie has a 'good' sister Maggie who is the wife of Freddies 'good' cousin Jimmy ( a nice guy but not so ridiculously good looking or as charming as his sociopathic nemisis), and their characters and their relationship are too good to be true. It is only tarnished by the antics of their losers of a sister and cousin, who screw up their lives through their own self destructive tendencies. Jackie, like Gervaise, destroyed herself through alcholism and squalor, along with infatuation for a man who despised her.

I'm not asking for 100% realism here, and this is not in the same league as Zola or Dickens. But I enjoy a bit of pulp mixed with some tragedy to bring out my empathy for women who love bastards (as many of us have been guilty of).

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