Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sara Paretsky: Ghost Country

I have some issues with this novel. This is sort of the basic storyline: at a wall in Chicago, a homeless woman thinks that the rusty water leaking through a crack is the blood of the Mother of God. When the management of the hotel, who own the wall (but not the sidewalk) try to drive her away, she is joined by two more homeless women, an idealistic young doctor, an alcoholic former opera diva and a young woman who has run away from an oppressive grandfather. When suddenly a non-speaking, hugely buxom and higly erotic woman called Starr appears, everything really kicks off. Miracles happen around Starr. A local church and some of it's more strident members get more and more annoyed. Ok, so it paints a picture of Chicago that is different, more... fantastical?... than in the Warshawski novels. Fair enough. But the distinct impression I'm left with is that it's an experiment in the genre "what if Jesus came back as...". Starr in this case being Jesus - a non-speaking, extremely sexual creature who can tongue-kiss a woman back to life on an altar. And there is a little bit too much written about her huge bosom and how much she has sex singly and grouply for me to think it altogether flies - simply because I find it unnecessarily "provocative". Possibly I'm just being churlish and over-thinking things.

I really don't like the breast bits though. It's some sort of odd mix between Swedish "sommarbuskis" and US titty bar. I don't get it. I'm missing the love I felt in Bleeding Kansas.

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