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

Date: 04 Feb 2008

Dave wrote:

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

See, that's it, exactly. Instead of being built as a female from the ground up, Michael Tree is built in the image of Mike Hammer. So everything about her is framed in relationship to his maleness. So in places Collins is underlining her femaleness as contrast and in other places overplaying the "anything you can do . . ." aspect, but it's all presented as "The Other" to hegemonic masculinity.

Collins also overplays the lack of opportunity for female cops, that they're all clerks, none on the streets. The idea feels like it's taken from the intro to Charlie's Angels. Might have been accurate a decade or three ago, but not now. As someone else commented, much about this book seems like it is set decades ago, so much so that mention of current technology seems incongruous.

None of this bothered me in the comic, which seemed to be set in its own out-of-time world. And it doesn't really bother me that much here -- I am enjoying the book for its self-conscious pulpiness -- but I am sometimes drawn out of the story by these things. Frankly, what I find far odder is that I am enjoying the book when I'm not much of a fan of Spillane, who, as Dave pointed out, casts a very long shadow over this book.

"I would never have guessed Wise Blood or any of Flannery O'Connor's other works that I read were written by a woman."

I first read O'Connor for an English class. I remember being very surprised the first time the professor used she or her when referring to her in class.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 04 Feb 2008 EST