Measured Extravagance

2000-12-16 - 7:11 p.m.

Today had been earmarked for blasting Beethoven on the stereo and wrapping holiday presents, but that was before I allowed myself to get distracted by one of the books waiting to be dressed in green foil and gold bows, Sarah Caudwell's Thus Was Adonis Murdered.

I'd heard about Miss Caudwell ages ago on DOROTHY-L, and had purchased Adonis for an Edward Gorey-themed package for a friend (Gorey's artwork is on the covers of all four Caudwell mysteries), I knew, from the reviews, that Miss Caudwell had been both eccentric and clever, and that one of the overly-hyped aspects of her books has been that she never revealed whether the narrator of her novels - Professor Hilary Tamar- was male or female. As it turns out, Professor Tamar is a personality - and, as a Oxford don purporting to be wholly devoted to the pursuit of Scholarship, it seems wholly natural that s/he present hirself as an androgynous academic. Caudwell probably enjoyed exercising the ingenuity required to maintain the non-identifiability of Tamar's gender, but I found it to be in keeping with Tamar's character and not simply a pointless or politically-loaded gimmick - pointless, as in blatant attempt to lure readers into reading the next book; politically-loaded, as in blatant attempt to draw notice to how many common assumptions are overly-reliant on gender.

Tamar may be genderless, but Adonis has plenty of sex (or at least, the craving for) in it. The dramatis personae include an assortment of beautiful young men of varying persuasions and inclinations. I am not sure whether I would prefer attempting to seduce the prim but culinarily-adept Ragwort or the more colorful Cantrip (something about the way he ejaculates "Strewth!"), but since the question is indeed "purely" academic, I can entertain fantasies of both. And of Selena, too, for that matter...

...setting Caudwell aside, however, the day has been an exercise in Francophilia. My own beautiful young man lured me out into the rain with the promise of brunch, and we accordingly found ourselves at Provence with coffee and croissant (lui), penne tapenade and fruit salad and an Orangina (moi), and a gingerbread person (nous) - and yes, the sign in the deli case said "gingerbread people," the BYM specifically requested a "gingerbread person" and was friendily mocked for his precision, and the cookie he presented to me was of indecipherable gender. Who knows how the frosting flows...

As we sipped and munched, we watched several inept parallel parking jobs (BYM to a BMW driver: "Hand me the keys NOW, you do not deserve to own that car"), the line on the other side of the street for the Pancake Pantry, a man halt in mid-sidewalk with a familiar eye-roll (that "oh-I-can't-BELIEVE-I-left-that-behind" eye-roll, that is), and other little vignettes of Hillsboro Village life.

Then we poked around a few shops before settling into our seats at the Belcourt Theatre to view Place Vendome. Catherine Deneuve is splendid. Vive Marianne!

<< | >>
My book!




Copyright 2000-2016 by mechaieh / pld. This blog has migrated to

Hosted by DiaryLand.