RARA-AVIS: Iguana Love equals penis envy?

From: Jay Gertzman ( jgertzma@earthlink.net)
Date: 20 Aug 2003

Note: there are *spoilers* re the plot in this post. Vicki Hendricks' writing in _Iguana Love_ is vividly colloquial, and gets us deep inside the mind of her protagonist Mona (and Mona is adept at getting sexy males deep inside her). I can't remember reading another novel in which the female protagonist actively seeks so much deep satisfaction. A deep sea diver, and owner of a five foot, sleek, prickly iguana she is determined to tame, she finds a strong, skilled, considerate lover, but hankers after a self-involved and sinister Enzo guy. To avoid being his victim means Mona must master the trades of drug smuggling and murder. It's love; and it requires the woman to control a psychopath. The book ends with her despairingly cradling her dead
(because neglected) iguana. I think this is a noir novel, b/c Mona, however seductive, strong, gutsy, and in control she is, also gets lost, and loses her moral and libidinous bearings, in her affair with Enzo. Hendrix does not seem to pity Mona or show contempt for men, but I'm not sure I am reading the book at all well. What she is saying about sex I'm also not sure. But I don't think it is like James M. Cain, or Hiassen.. Maybe more like Highsmith, with a touch of Thompson or Georges Bataille. Or maybe I was taken in by the pulp slickness.

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