Sunday, March 22, 2009

While I'm reviewing things, a capsule book review: The Caryatids, by Bruce Sterling.

A brief excerpt:

He pulled the belt from his uniform. Then, without another word, he began to beat her with his belt: not angrily, but rhythmically and thoroughly.

Having been beaten by lovers before, Sonja knew how to react. With a howl of dismay, she fell to the earth, hugging his ankles and begging forgiveness in a gabble of sobs and shrieks.

When she clutched at his knees, his balance was poor, so he couldn't use the belt effectively. He stopped his attempts to beat her. She continued to shriek, beg and grovel. This was the core of the performance.

It was never about how hard men beat you, or how many strokes, or what they hit you with. It was always about their need to break your will and impose their own.

As to the dramatis personae in this scene: One is "Red Sonja" Mihajlovic, a war hero, organizer of dramatic, city-scale rescue projects, and one of the seven cloned sisters that are, collectively, the title characters. The other is an unkempt, uneducated 19-year-old desert tribesman, perhaps best described as an angry lump of meat, who Sonja has chosen to marry for reasons that were never explained to this reader's full satisfaction.

I am unable to determine which gender was insulted worse by this passage. If you think you know, please feel free to make your case in the comments.

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Anonymous Maqsood Shah said...

It was never about how hard men beat you, or how many strokes, or what they hit you with. It was always about their need to break your will and impose their own.

Exactly, its all most of the men are carrying in lesser or higher degree. But who can change them?

I think the women, whom he was beating.
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