Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Street's like a jungle....Misfortune, by Wesley Stace

Wesley Stace

Misfortune has been described as a combination of Dickens’ Great Expectations (which I don’t mind) and Byatt’s Possession (which I abhor). Other reviews have utterly trashed Misfortune, and I don’t quite know why. I had such fun reading it and hardly noticed the length of about 550 pages. I tore through the book quickly and had a great time doing it. Thank heavens I hadn’t read that Possession comment before purchasing it, or else I might never have picked it up.

Misfortune tells the story of Lord Geoffroy Loveall and his son – no, his daughter. Well, both. Sort of. Lord Loveall, childless and effeminate, is facing the incursion of greedy family members upon his estate. With no heir to hold them at bay, Loveall is dismayed indeed. Thankfully, he happens upon an abandoned baby boy in a garbage heap. Score!

The only problem is that Loveall wants a girl. Never recovering from the death of his younger sister in childhood, Loveall plans to raise the infant in her image of his sister. That pesky sex/gender thing shouldn’t be too difficult to overcome. The infant’s true nature is hidden, and Rose is raised as a girl, believing herself that she is a girl, until, well, puberty. Then things REALLY get interesting. Meanwhile, those nasty relatives have been waiting all the while, ready to pounce to claim what they believe is rightfully theirs. Of course, the truth will out and all that. (And how it comes out is SO entertaining.)

Along the way, Misfortune explores the nature of sex and gender (although, in truth, it doesn’t break any new ground). The novel traces Rose’s entire life, and while a few have labeled some parts as unnecessary, I for one found it impossible to become bored with the tale.
Besides, who doesn’t love a man in drag?

30 days, 4 hours

In a nutshell: Fun, fun, fun!

Bibliolatry Scale: 5 out of 6 stars


TANk GiRL said...

Hi, nothing to do with this particular post, sorry...

I was looking for some information on "Kafka on the shore" I see you've read it and I would like to exchange some impressions:

What kind of book do you think it would be? Why?

I haven't finished but so far I like what I've read.

Bibliolatrist said...

Well, I'm not sure I know what you mean, in terms of what kind of book I think it would be, but I'll try to answer your question as best I can.

Kafka on the Shore confused me - not so much the plot, which I understood, but rather what I thought of it. I enjoyed the magical realism present in the novel, but even now I'm having a hard time remembering much about it.

I'm not sure if you read my review on it, but here's a link to it -- I had to read it myself to refresh my memory on the book.

What are your thoughts on it?