Kara's Reviews > Dead and Buried

Dead and Buried by Barbara Hambly
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Jun 25, 12

bookshelves: death, mystery
Read from July 23 to 25, 2012


The major theme of this story is that of ‘Passing,’ something that provides plenty of conflict since the usual case is when a member of a Minority attempts to pass as a member of the Majority, everyone gets mad.

Members of the Other who are not passing get angry that the person Passing is not proud to BE a member of that ethnicity/race/religion/gender/orientation/etc. There is possibly jealously involved for the Passing member able to “get away with it” or there is anger that Passing is “putting the cause back.”

Members of the Majority get even more angry if someone is exposed as Passing amongst their ranks, vitriol anger of “how dare you trick us! How dare you pretend to be one of us! How dare you muddy the waters of the sharp and clear distinction between Us and Them! How dare you put doubts into our heads that maybe all these categories of ‘better’ groups vs. ‘lesser’ groups is all nonsense!”

It’s a hard, dangerous thing, Passing.

We see all of this, and more, in this book, because Passing is something that happens when you draw a line in the sand and say ‘everyone on this side will be treated well and everyone on the other side will be treated as sub-human’. Of course people are going to try and sneak across that line, especially when it looks like that line will never, ever be erased.

Those lines, those categories, labels, distinction, etc., are, on one hand, as insubstantial as the breath of air used to say the, but on the other hand, human minds being what they are, as solid a mountain range.

This book is an excellent examination of the issue, and a really good mystery as well, as Benjamin January examines the mixed threads of Fact and Fiction that make up the cloak of someone Passing.
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