Mo's Reviews > Eine ganz gewöhnliche Ehe. Odysseus und Penelope

Eine ganz gewöhnliche Ehe. Odysseus und Penelope by Inge Merkel
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's review
Mar 06, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: aufdeutsch, historical-fiction, mediterranean-antiquity

Why is it that every piece of literature I pick up lately is obnoxiously sexist? Two stars for the prose, but seriously, a book with pages of lectures on proper gender roles, no matter what you think those roles should be, is not a good book. In case you're curious, though: women have a nesting instinct and are happiest when they have a child in the womb! Men have a wandering instinct and can't be expected to stay at home with their families! Women shouldn't be mad if their men go off and leave them for, say, 20 years. Also if your man goes out of his way to deceive you and lie to you, well, that just means he loves you! Since he's going to the trouble to come up with lies to tell you! Charming.

At first I wasn't bothered because I would expect historical sexism to appear in a historical(-mythological) fiction novel. However, the gender stereotypes voiced by the characters here are quite different from those the ancient Greeks believed and correspond to a modern concept of innate gender. So it's not good research either. Some other aspects of the writing annoyed me - making all the characters except your heroes shallow idiots doesn't make the heroes look impressive in comparison, it just sets a low standard for them and is obvious to boot. I flipped back to the introduction, which makes fun of the idea that gender is learned, states that men and women are psychologically inherently different (it's no big deal if men cheat in relationships btw - that's just what they're like!), and claims that romantic love is fulfilling precisely because of these differences (sorry, queers! your relationships can't be fulfilling I guess). Then I got bored and decided to go read some dense history tomes instead.

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