Wednesday, January 30, 2019

9. Queenpin by Megan Abbot

This was an interesting (and good read.  It's noir, pulp, hard-boiled, etc. but a modern simulacrum.  It's like somebody perfectly rebuilt an old car but there were some modern parts hiding under the hood.  It's tight, tough and entertaining.  If it had come in fake dressing with dates from the late 60s I might have thought it was real, though little hints would have nagged at me.  It's the story of  a young, smart, working-class girl who does the books for a cheap bar.  She gets noticed by an older, glamourous woman who works for the mob, Gloria Denton.  Denton takes her under her wing and mentors her to be her sidekick.  This is the kind of book that was sort of predictable, or at least you weren't worried so much about where the narrative led as you knew right from the beginning it was ultimately going to be a power struggle between the girl and her mentor.  So it is safe to say that the girl sort of fucks up or sort of deliberately does what she wants by hooking up with a low-life, charming hopeless gambler.  Shit goes wrong in a deliciously brutal way.

Smarter people than me will be able to do a better analysis of this book.  On the one hand, you can at the very least, credit Abbot for wrtiing a near diamond perfect pulp book.  However, I suspect there is also a lot deeper shit going on here with the role reversals and how she plays with the power dynamics between the two women and the men in the world.   Or perhaps it can be criticized for being too much of something the male gaze would want?  I don't know, will go read up and will also keep her earlier pulp works in mind.  She has also gone on to a successful career writing "literary" fiction, some of which look promising and interesting as well.

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