Re: RARA-AVIS: The Follower

From: Nathan Cain (
Date: 15 Jun 2007

One of the things I really liked about The Follower that I haven't heard anyone mention yet is the way Starr traps Katie in the classic Virgin/Whore dichotomy, but turns it on its head. The supposedly "normal" guys in the book get all their information about women from porn, and are consequently raving misogynists with no concept of what is normal in a relationship. Andy's anxiety over never having engaged in anal sex is a case in point. Then the crazy guy, Peter, sees Katie as a pure, shining example of femininity and obsesses over romantic comedies like Pretty Woman. His favorite movie of all time is based on a Jane Austen novel. He is a very family values kind of guy, or would be if he weren't homicidal. Usually, it's the crazy killers who see women as whores.
 Starr's book raises some pretty serious questions about gender relations and the way the media portrays women. Caught between two unrealistic extremes, it's no wonder Katie is miserable, even before people start dying.

On 6/15/07, Jeff Vorzimmer <> wrote:
> Just finished Jason Starr's The Follower and I have to agree with
> everything
> that's been said here about it to date. It's definitely Jason's best novel
> so far and the most with potentially wide commercial appeal. I hope his
> publisher really gets behind this one and does a good job of marketing it.
> It represents yet another shift in style for him. Mark nailed it perfectly
> when he said that Jason could well be the new Highsmith. The Follower is a
> Highsmith-style, psychological thriller, which reminded me not so much of
> Ripley, but of books such as This Sweet Sickness and Cry of the Owl.
> Although it has a complex, alternating perspective, Jason pulls it off
> effortlessly and it's easy reading. A dramatic tension builds gradually
> throughout the story, starting almost from the first page. The two main
> characters are probably his most sympathetic characters ever, enough at
> least that you care what happens to them, especially in contrast to the
> rest
> of the characters.
> Jeff

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