What Russo firmly does is place the outcomes of the cult, within a cultural context of the crumbling American empire, and the death of the public service ideal. By doing this he makes the scared, isolated lives the cult members live much more a symptom of the modern worlds lack of connection, community and shared values, rather than the punchline of a joke.
Bates book is part of a genre I have decided to name True Dystopia, so unrelenting and difficult to counter are the subculture she maps. However, at the end of the book we do gain some glimmers of hope as to how these incidious and dangerous ideas can be dealt with, and it will take a lot more energy and time than I suspect many realise. It is not the internet per say that has created these groups, but general culture, the internet just allowed communications between their individual members, who have used that opportunity the way any living organisim does, to grow, to become stronger, to reproduce.
The Baby Is Mine is an engaging, playful and modern take on the biblical tale Solomon's judgement.
By trying to inhabit both the best of true crime and crime fiction Chizman displays an admirable amount of creative ambition and playfulness. Of course some of the best work in true crime comes is in the first person, and to truely inhabit that position he has to write as himslef. There is the added bonus that this lends great authenticity to the time and place, but this is perhapse at the expense of the telling the story, and it feels to me that in this novel at least everything should be in greater service to the story.
As someone who does not believe in an afterlife with punishment editions, and also would not strictly adhear to conventional ideas of reincarnation, death to me has always appeared to be a release from suffering. So the obsession with death as a punishment, the ultimate punishment, has always puzzled me, surely if punishment is really what you want then creating a worse life on earth is what is called for - and as we can see throughout history, we are really, really good at doing that.
Yet, when we look at the evidence over time it's likely that women have been just, if not more prolific in their voilence. A combination of using methods which have been more difficult to detect and less showy, such as posoin, combined with cultural taboo's that still exist around women, caring and motherhood which mean their violence can often not be contemplated, very weirdly leads me to conclude this is yet another area in which women's contributions have been overlooked. And as pshycologist Anna Motz says, when we deny women's violence, we deny women.
It is a sign that Black is a talented writer, not just scientist, that she can translated these parts of ourselves, that literally no one ever wants to see, into not just a compelling read but an education tool that reframes our internal world.
This is a work that undermines the notion of the contemporary realism as it is set half in reality, half in myth, half in the physical world, half in the mind. Being partly made of myth and mind, the reality The Maidens presents us with beyond physical buildings, and bodies is slippery, subjective and hard to pin down.
Parry takes us through both the high and low society of Edinburgh but we find in both of them calculated crime, devious intent and women struggling under rigid morality the consequences of which men often invade.
Podcast episode here. While I try to avoid spoilers in my reviews, with this one it has not been possible, mainly because the pod progresses in a way I want to discuss, and talk about - which is a testament to how powerful a piece of investigative journalisim it is. If you do not want …