Wednesday, July 21, 2010

36. Little Tales of Misogyny by Patricia Highsmith

My aunt gave this to me. It was the remnants of an art project/book giveaway. She said she didn't like it too much and I think that coloured my perception of it, as I started it and then found the short, impersonal parables to be too distancing. I was looking for an engaging narrative. Since I've been waiting in line at Fantasia, I picked it up again, thinking its structure would be good for short bursts of reading. Turns out that once I got into it, I couldn't stop! Ah, Patricia, how could I have ever doubted you?

Little Tales of Misogyny is exactly what the title states: a series of short vignettes, each one describing a different woman who encompasses a certain negative trait. There's the breeder, the slut, the perfectionist, the one who finds religion and so on. Each is told in Highsmith's cold, removed style and are quite damning. Though her style is distant, it manages to evoke emotion in the reader, though I imagine it depends on your political perspective. In my case, I found myself angered by the behaviour of many of the women in the stories, probably because they touched on bad characteristics of my own past girlfriends. Taken collectively, it truly is misogynist. Men are not portrayed positively either, but she paints them as fundamentally weak and passive and thus victimized by the females.

A great little find and another great read from Patricia Highsmith. I was hoping to move this book on, but it is slim and now will most likely get a place on the over-stuffed bookshelf.

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