Favorite Quote:"Yet most women I know--no matter how clever, no matter how strong--are dragged down by husbands or fathers or titles or too many pettiFavorite Quote:"Yet most women I know--no matter how clever, no matter how strong--are dragged down by husbands or fathers or titles or too many petticoats, or priests clutching at their hems, telling them, 'No, you cannot do that, you cannot be that.' I never listened. That's rare." (141).
The rest of this novel is driven not by the writing but by the life of Julie d'Aubigny--cross-dressing, gender-bending, swash-buckling, opera-singing, bisexual demimondaine! The toast of all Paris in the late days of the Sun King. A glorious, jaded, decadent period in the history of France. La Maupin's gender-bending iconoclasm compels the reader.
The voice the writer chooses, much like the telling not showing of The Last Kingdom, irritates more than engages. Yes, I get that Julie is dying. I get that portions are dictation. The fragments, the lack of detail, the distance from emotion is entirely French. Whether it is the failing of an English writer, or the reason I left the world of French literature, it's distancing. One never feels the visceral emotions of the characters who are clearly meant to be larger than life. Their pain, their passion, their excesses are all dictated/described at a distance. Characteristic of the French, n'est pas? Perhaps. Still, I never felt the connection the author intended....more