Sunday, January 23, 2011

Set In Motion by Valerie Martin

Beset by strange obsessive men, a young woman makes her way around New Orleans.

I am trying to read all of  Valerie Martin’s novels. This one is her first. It feels a little over designed as it is a study of three couples and perhaps two couples would have been manageable. The men are all obsessed with the narrator, a young woman who works at a welfare office. These men are all irretrievably fucked up if not certifiable and therefore the sanity of the women who stick with them is also questionable, but I think that the point. The last part of the book pretty much fell apart as it relied heavily on the journals of a madman. The journals of the madman were difficult to read.

Mostly I am interested in how Valerie Martin created those later roller coaster rides Mary Reilly and Property (in knee breeches and corsets). I also deeply admired Trespass which is more openended. Set in Motion is so openended to be completely breezy, but certain themes return – the casual sex, the woman who wants to be dominated, the sufferings of black folk, and the supernatural aspect.

One more novel to go but I believe someone swiped it from the LAPL stacks.

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