Tamaki, Saito (Translated by J. Keith Vincent and Dawn Lawson)
University of Minnesota Press, 2011 (English Translated edition)
ISBN: 978 0 8166 5451 2
You know how sometimes, you can like a thing without really knowing why you like it? And then once you find out some of the theory of why people like these things, it sort of spoils it for you? Well, all of that didn’t happen with this book.
Ha, had you going for a second there, didn’t I? But I guess that that’s because I’m not a massive anime and manga fan. Oh, sure, I like some of it; Princess Mononoke is probably my favourite, but I really haven’t watched enough of it to feel that I should really have a favourite, you know? I love the style of it, and the freaky culture clash things that crop up – like in Pom Poko, with its masses of references to the shape-shifting abilities ensconced in a racoon’s balls. Have to confess to loving it from a Western point of view, and also… not keen on Big Robot anime. But all that didn’t stop me reading this book.
A lot of this book was way out of my depth – there is a lot of discussion, especially in the introduction to the book, about Lacanian psychotherapy techniques (gah?), the intersection between the Real, the Fictionalised Real, and Fiction (double gah?). Lucky for me, I recently read Violence: six sideways reflections by Slavoj Zizek (yeah, that’s what I do in my spare time… what a nerd), so some of the terms were kind of familiar. I’d imagine if you were a critical studies major or a media studies guru you’d probably get way more out of this book than I did.
ISBN:978 1 85326 208 1
Whoa, but there is a lot of French in this book. Thank goodness for me this edition has translations in the back, because otherwise I’d run the risk of going my whole life thinking that the main character in this book was stirring his morning coffee with a small gun, rather than a bread roll. Pistolet was the word that tripped me up… I mean, I knew it was unlikely, given the setting, but he had just discovered that his lady-love was dating his boss. It really could have changed the whole flow of the story. Oh, and in case you didn’t realise from that little rant, I don’t speak French past the completely stupid phrase “Ou est la piscine?”, which is going to serve me exactly no good at all if I ever go to France, since I don’t swim. God only knows why I remember it at all.
BCA (by arrangement with Hodder and Stoughton), 1992
There is a certain talent to setting yourself limits. Stephen King is probably most well-known for his epic stuff – The Stand, the Dark Tower cycle, and other books where there is lots going on, either in lots of different places or with lots of different people. Gerald’s Game is the opposite. There are really only two characters who are fleshed out to any great degree (not counting the dog), and only one real setting. There are remembered characters and settings, but none of these occur concurrently with the events of the novel.
The story begins with Gerald and Jessie Burlingame gettin’ frisky at their holiday home at the lake. Given that I read Bag of Bones probably about two months before I started reading Gerald’s Game, that there was a little deja vu-ish for my taste. Granted, you read enough of any author, you start to see the zipper in the back of the costume, so to speak. Anyway, specifically the form that their friskiness takes is some mid-range bondage – up from scarves, down from pretzelling yourself into fancy knots; so, handcuffs, which Gerald has obtained from a courtroom associate. Jessie’s not wildly keen about them, but will take any sex with Gerald that she can get. So far, so rote. Unfortunately for Jessie, her day gets worse when Gerald has a massive heart attack, and has the ill grace to perish on the bedroom floor with her still handcuffed to the bedposts. That’s really as much as I can tell you (it’s nothing that you couldn’t get off the front flap anyway – albeit, minus the sarcasm) without giving the rest of the story away, so if you think you might read this book, stop now, ’cause after this, here be spoilers.
Read the rest of this entry