(41-46)A geezer from the past of our second lead comes onto the scene and agitates things. With his options looking tighter and more bleak, 2nd Lead goes off the rail a bit, leading Mr. Protag to have to slap some sense into him. Crisis flash point pushes us toward the point of no return.
The aforementioned crisis point is a horrendous murder. Specifically the murder of a woman. This grates on my conscience somewhat. It grates somewhat more because The Bastard Wonderland has no female leads, and in fact barely any female characters at all, other than a mourned mother, a dubious ex, and an equally mourned (arguably mythical, loosely imagined) deity. Then finally, when a real woman is actually in the scene, she gets this, and remains anonymous.
Part of me knows this might not look good. A book of men for men that occludes women.
My defence: for one thing, the masculinity of TBW isn’t just an absence of ladies, but a dearth of them – the men here are suffering the lack of them, often in a pitiful, misguided or comedic way (think Only Fools and Horses ).
Secondly, this dearth of women is largely in the context of the foreign culture i mentioned in my previous post – we have a culture where women are entirely secluded. No its not fair. Yes, it is barbaric. But this story isn’t romantic enough that these cruel ideals are just swept away. And in a way, the murder is kind of symbolic, or symptomatic of this cultural state of affairs.
Is it okay to have murder (and rape) as long as you give the characters some depth? Some realism, and a genuine reason for the ocurrence? An interesting debate here seems to suggest so. And yet still, these oppressed women do not get a voice in TBW. The hard fact is, i took a risk. The female story and characters exist, are written. But i cut them from TBW. That’s right, i cut them! The ‘women’s world’ is a whole ‘nother book, (all being well, it will be the next one) because in the end, i decided that a well structured story was more important than a nod to positive gender politics.
Editing Notes – The usual – lots of cut and tidy
Keyword Style impressions – Burning streets, fisticuffs between friends, Nam Vet, you’re better off in the shit, Jack the Ripper, bottle matured, violent pat-a-cake