This month I read four novels that seemed to be connected to each other through the trope of fantastical misogyny: Nabokov's Lolita, Thompson's The Nothing Man, Ellis's American Psycho, and Hamsun's Hunger(ok, this novel isn't quite 20th century --1890 -- but is considered an important landmark novel that inspired 20th century fiction). In each of the these texts the hero's actions are propelled forward through his obsessively imagining the physical abuse of the women around him.
The Innocence of the Devil is a labyrinth of memory, flared-through with some shots of spellbinding imagery. At its core is a political challenge, a daring re-visioning of gender roles of the past, present, and for the future generations. The devil is, as usual, a woman -- at least temporarily.
Thomas Shepard’s autobiography in God's Plot reveals his personal struggle with cognition in a world in which positive/negative, good/evil can not peaceably coexist.
In what are some of the most lukewarm descriptions of an insane woman on the verge of murder I have ever read in a Victorian novel, Trollope describes Murray's descent into madness like a stroll through the park. Even when she does shoot a bullet through Daniel's shoulder it seems like a domestic shot. She closes her eyes, mews like a kitten, and then, after the fact, becomes a shadow of her former self.
These three aspects of the novel -- AIDS (and disease), homosexuality, and homelessness -- seemed to be what the novel is ABOUT: much more so than it is about a rich, bored, and crazed trust-fund kid who goes on a murder spree.