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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

To read about movies and TV shows I'm watching, visit my other blog: Elliot's Watching

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Still reading Memento Mori and to what end?

Well, I've got not much more to say as I move further along w/ Muriel Spark's curious 1959 novel, Memento Mori - the characters continue to talk about their complex current relationships and past entanglements, we still don't know who's calling Dame Letti and reminding her that she's going to die, and do we care about these people - bored aristocrats, faithless servants, pretentious artists? Do we relate to them in any way? Much of British popular fiction over the past century has been about the relationships among and between the social classes. I'm trying to make sense of the class relationships in MM. The wealthy all seem to need a loyal retainer or two, especially for the elderly women - and the loyal servants seem to be maneuvering for a piece of an inheritance. The maidservants, surprise surprise, also establish some kind of sexual relationship with the husbands of their "ladies" - all part of the deal, I guess. One curious element Spark establishes is the restraint and kinkiness of some of these relationships. The lead male figure in the novel, Godfrey, has a thing for looking at a woman as she hikes up her dress or skirt so he can see the top of her stocking. Shocking! He pays his wife's maidservant a pound each time she lets him have a look. He also spends a lot of time in another neighborhood - Chelsea - surreptitiously visiting a young woman (granddaughter of the dissipated poet we've encountered) who charges a bit more for the privilege. She's also involved in some way with Godfrey's son, Eric. Wow, it's hard work keeping all these strands clear in mind while reading - and to what end?

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