An interesting read that resonates strongly with some of my own experiences.
The author of this book has experience in running assorted workshops and pAn interesting read that resonates strongly with some of my own experiences.
The author of this book has experience in running assorted workshops and prison-mandated programs for men who abuse their wives or girlfriends, so a lot of it is anecdotal and casual, and should of course be taken with a grain of salt. The writing style is a little simplistic in places, which makes it feel condescending - despite assertions that the abuse of women by male partners (as an overwhelming majority of domestic abuse is) is a result of cultural attitudes, Bancroft is himself ironically kind of tongue-clucking and paternalistic occasionally.
However, despite its broadly unscientific writing, I think the book actually has some insights really worth thinking about: the focus on the abuser rather than the abused is a really excellent change from many of these sorts of texts - a lot of the time you end up reading about the victims involved and you don't receive any mental pressure to think about the perpetrator. By focusing on the abusers in these relationships, Bancroft places greater value on accountability. (This is something that western culture could probably learn a lot from as a whole. Just sayin'.)
I think it is interesting for having been written by a male-identifying person rather than a woman, which is usually the perspective I have read from when reading about domestic abuse. It was also interesting for me because a lot of the behaviours Bancroft is describing are extremely recognisable.
There is, sadly, only a very small section on same-sex partner abuse. I would like to read more about this sometime just because I feel like in homosexual relationships there should be less emphasis on gendered roles. I would have appreciated reading more about people's experiences with how certain attitudes bred abuse outside of heteronormative society.
I liked it, I didn't love it. It's very gothic, and I like gothic novels. It's like: ruined landscapes, check. Characters flirting with madness, checkI liked it, I didn't love it. It's very gothic, and I like gothic novels. It's like: ruined landscapes, check. Characters flirting with madness, check. Crumbling buildings, check. Events with both natural and supernatural explanations, check. (Assorted dealings with Powers Moste Eville? - check.)
There are bits of humour in there that I really liked - like when the Irish housekeeper admits that the candlesticks are all broken, and Melmoth (not the titular Melmoth, the other one), asks her how she sorted that out, and she just goes, "I stuck it in a potato." It's like, doom, doom, gloom and then suddenly: potato! Nice juxtaposition of humour and melodramatic misery. Sweet.
Melodramatic misery DOES make up a lot of the story though, honestly. There's a framing narrative broken up by the entwined and frequently tragic stories of the people Melmoth (that one, this time) has encountered over the course of his very, very long life. I suppose the sheer weightiness of the rambling prose is kind of just how they wrote in the 19th century (Bronte I am looking at you), but I think it gets unnecessarily convoluted and meandering here and there.
Having said that, I liked it, and would recommend to people who enjoy Gothic fiction, but not to people who are looking for a really light, easy read....more
I really enjoyed this one. It was easy to read with a delightfully conversational turn of phrase. While the chronology meanders a bit, the writing isI really enjoyed this one. It was easy to read with a delightfully conversational turn of phrase. While the chronology meanders a bit, the writing is well paced and the progression through history is still roughly linear and reasonably well organised. Dotted throughout are literary references and excerpts, as well as scraps of recipes from various periods.
Four stars. Go read it, and don't forget to check out the appendix of historical recipes at the end of the book....more
Artemisia is a woman about whom very little is now known; what is known has been amended for the sake of the isolation and poignancy we get in the texArtemisia is a woman about whom very little is now known; what is known has been amended for the sake of the isolation and poignancy we get in the text. Is it biography? Is it fiction? We just don't know.
Is it good? Yeah, it actually kind of is.
This is largely the story of the conflict inherent in being a woman working in a man's role. There's a really palpable tension that Artemisia feels between her performance of feminine gender norms - her role as a daughter, mother, wife - and her work as a painter, to such an extent that painting is basically the only time when she really seems like a whole person.
The voice is volatile and schizophrenic, particularly for about the first fifth of the book - a kind of bizarre interfacing between author-narrator and subject which is then complicated by the way the voices of the author and Artemisia don’t just run in parallel, but interact with each other as the characters talk (and occasionally bicker over details). This is interesting and very cool but it can certainly take a bit of re-reading.
There was a bit of tossing up between three and four stars for this one, because it is really interesting, well-written, and it certainly draws you in. I'm not going to lie to you: I eventually went with three stars because while the content and themes are pretty cool, I'm a lazy reader and I disapprove of the amount of effort I had to put in to sort the voices out. Three stars....more