a lovely mishmash of opinions interspersed with moments of clarity and vision by a vegan lesbian feminist mystery-loving, history-loving reader and writer.
My first book of the new year; it's almost two weeks in and I haven't managed to read 200 pages yet. This book is a disappointment. I can say yes, it's well written (except for the comma splices! What is it with the writers I've read recently? Is this a new thing, yay comma splices? [except the last book I read was published in 1981]. Gads, it bugs the shit out of me. Ahem. Anyway...)
This book is appropriately creepy, and the characters were appropriately sympathetic (or not, depending on their roles) until the lovely line about how she remembered the way the two of them -- Ernest and Emerald -- used to cut up small frogs when they were children.
What this is coming down to for me so far is: excellent use of setting, despicable encouragement of speciesism. I understand that when this book took place (I'm thinking this is Edwardian England) people generally ate meat and so forth, but in England there was also a larger understanding of animal welfare, if not rights, and the constant descriptions of meat and the types of organs and muscles being prepared for the feast is disturbing because there is no context to it beyond just how much food the small group was going to eat. Then, of course, that bit about the frogs.
And animals figure fairly prominently in this book, from the horses to the little kitten, to the carcasses of myriad unnamed animals and the dissected frogs.
Perhaps by the end of the book there will be something to wrap it all together, but I rather doubt it. People just don't consider animals as characters for the most part. (Oh yes, and the extremely annoying use of "it" to refer to the pony Lady. One of the characters thinks of Lady as "she" but the author keeps calling her an "it.")
Okay, end rant.