Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Literary Taste and Bondi


Bondi Beach
I found a copy of Chocolat by Joanne Harris on someone's shelves this week and couldn't resist re-reading it. I enjoyed it more than I did the first time around because I’ve now read The Lollipop Shoes and Peaches for Monsieur le Cure. Beautiful writing in all three, each with an intricate story that takes its own time to unfold on the page and in the reader’s mind. Enhanced, for me, by the memory of the beautiful actress who played Vianne in the film version of Chocolat.

How Fifty Shades of Grey will stand up to the comparison, I’m not sure, for they are poles apart in genre, style and almost everything else. I gained a copy as a gift, a copy going spare, so I was told, because they were not allowed to use it as a raffle prize! Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I am reading it even though I freely admit I would never have bought it. So, how do I find it?

Bondi, looking north
I was led to believe the writing is poor, and in some places it is, but not everywhere. There’s a certain breathlessness about the style that seems to catche how 20-somethings think these days, and no doubt that is appealing to 20-and 30-somethings. It also taps into the fairy tale/myth/fantasy of the pretty but poor virgin meeting the handsome, sexy billionaire and discovering how much he fancies her. Sex is wonderful for them, and the graphic description is better than many I’ve read, plus which it has the big plus that it is not the usual run of the mill sex. The twist in the tale concerns the devilishly handsome hero being a control freak who requires her to be totally submissive to his wish to inflict pain. He is so nice with it that the heroine is tempted to consider and sign his pseudo-legal Agreement. When he describes the kind of action he envisages, which involves whips and canes, it taps into a very basic tantalising-fear cum desire to be dominated that lurks in the heroine's psyche and also deep down in many a female bosom.
I found myself grinning at the couple's witty e-mail exchanges, (which reminded me of typewritten notes addressed to Dear Big-Eyes which came to me through the ICI internal mail system in some long ago universe) and her asides to her inner goddess were a treat. Yes, I can see why it has been a runaway success.

2 comments:

Ursula Thompson said...

I love the inner goddess comments, too! Did you know that the whole series started out as Twilight fan fiction?

Jen Black said...

Yes I read that somewhere but have to say that after watching the first film of the series, I'm not a Twilight fan. I can see the connections between the two themes - sacrificial virgin thing, hero with a kink, willingness...