Friday, June 25, 2010
Edinburgh by Alexander Chee
The ramifications when a man is obsessed with blond boys.
Three structures uphold the frame of the poetic writing - the story of the abuse, the Korean mythology, and the underused metaphor of the plague city of Edinburgh. The latter two are sterling and compelling. But the abuse plot wasn't clearly defined for me, and degenerates into implausibility near the end. The sensitive narrator is abused as a child, becomes suicidal, recovers, is happy and then is tempted to abuse. The problem is that I didn't understand why the abuse (which was pretty vague) made him suicidal. The choir director shows them dirty pictures, they hike naked. Within the context of the novel, I needed better to understand the betrayal of the little boy, as well as the betrayal of morality. It turned the narrator a passive victim, not good for moving the story along.