Re: RARA-AVIS: Deadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins and the female POV

From: Dave Zeltserman (
Date: 04 Feb 2008

> I'm halfway through it and my take is opposite of yours. I'm
having a
> lot of trouble believing hers is a female voice. I was a fan of the
> comic, but the novel form seems to me to highlight the
cardboardness of
> this female who is more male than males (for instance, the target
> practice scene). And I have found bits like the fashion notes
> heavyhanded, a poor substitute for deeper characterization.

Mark, I guess I just bought in that she's a female version of Mike Hammer.

> This is not to say I'm not enjoying it (although I'll be very
> disappointed if the who whodunnit is who I've thought it is since
> 20 pages in, even before I knew what was done>

You're going to be very disappointed--but again, only because Collins doesn'r cheat he makes it obvious pretty early who the villain is.

> What makes a voice female or male, and must one be of that gender to
> pull it off, especially in the first person? Based on my entirely
> unscientific sampling, women are more convincing writing male 1st
> vice versa.

I would never have guessed Wise Blood or any of Flannery O'Connor's other works that I read were written by a woman. Rex Stout does a convincing job with a female 3rd POV, but you're right, not too many men seem to be able to write convincingly from a woman's POV.
--Dave Z. (who's staying up late posting this stuff to work out my Super Bowl angst)

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