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Monday, January 4, 2010

Tragic Endings


So I just finished reading Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey.



The synopsis from the book cover reads:

"This sweeping, irrepressibly inventive novel, is a romance, but a romance of the sort that could only take place in nineteenth-century Australia. For only on that sprawling continent- a haven for misfits of both the animal and human kingdoms - could a nervous Anglican minister who gambles on the instructions of the Divine become allied with a teenaged heiress who buys a glassworks (factory) to help liberate her sex. And only the prodigious imagination of Peter Carey could implicate Oscar and Lucinda in a narrative of lvoe and commerce, religion and colonialism, that culminates in a half-mad expedition to transport a glass church across the Outback."

I loved the book for its prose, its incredible take on the human psyche and the passions for good and evil that each person possesses but I hated the ending.

(SPOILER ALERT!)

How is it possible to let a character, Mirriam Chadwick, usurp the main character heiress by seducing the poor hapless rather foolish Odd-Bod Crab Hopkins to become Mrs. Oscar Odd-Bod Crab Hopkins taking not only that precious title but all of Lucinda's wealth as well? Maybe because I'm sick and tired of tragic endings that I can't bear it; more than I can even bear the idea of a blond Barbie doll being tortured and decapitated by an innocent-my-ass little girl. There's too much uneasiness going around the world what with 2012 at our doorstep and trash-talking pundits having a field day with the global warming thing.

Maybe if this hussy was introduced from the beginning so that the reader is somehow aware of her plight, has time to sympathize with how she became the royal bitch that she is, that the reader - namely me - can say: Yes, I understand. And, certainly, it hand to end that way - with the defrocked Oscar Hopkins marrying the first wench to give a happy ending to his wee-wee, fucking (not in the literal sense) his one true love for life. And, certainly, he just had to die with the glass church crushing him and slicing his poor delicate white wrists to a bloody mess in the rustic wilds of the badass Outback. Certainly, certainly, certainly.

Of course, Mr. Carey still won the Booker Prize for understandable reasons. It's a mammoth sized work where all of Australia's strengths and frailties from its post-transport days are dissected with a human eye towards the leanings of male and female passions. It's all reality, no Cinderella and happily ever after here.

No wonder the movie didn't fare too well, from what I read, either. It just left people cold. There was an emotional investment that mounts up like a rushing sex drive that just pulls out before the climax. Reading the ending just made me felt cheated. What a shame.

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