In an age when the English government lacked a professional bureaucracy or a standing army, the authority of a monarch rested on their legitimacy. As a woman occupying a position traditionally held by men, Elizabeth I faced a special set of challenges in this regard. Trapped between the contrasting expectations of sexuality and politics, she sought to represent herself in a way that allowed her to maintain her legitimacy – and thus her power – in a tumultuous age. In this book, Carol Levin analyzes Elizabeth’s efforts to project this image, as well as how she was perceived by her contemporaries as both a woman and in her role as a monarch.
In a series of overlapping essays, Levin focuses on her court’s manipulation of images of royalty and the public’s reaction to them. The essays are roughly chronological, as the early ones examine the problems of her succession and the early response to her rule, while the later ones consider the challenges she faced as her reign came to an end. Throughout the chapters, Levin charts the ways in which Elizabeth balanced the contrasting expectations she faced, in the end successfully assuming the masculine roles her position required while still exhibiting the femininity her people expected of her.
Levin’s book is an interesting, if fragmented examination of Elizabeth’s images and how they were received. Her study of these often overlooked elements of Elizabeth’s reign helps the reader understand how Elizabeth succeeded as a woman in one of the most masculine of jobs. While few of the arguments she makes are original, she presents her case effectively with a convincing analysis backed by considerable research. For anyone seeking to learn how Elizabeth balanced the demands of her position with those of her gender, this is a good book to read.
Die Sprache ist zwar etwas simpel, aber die Geschichte hat mich sehr gepackt. Ira Levin arbeitet über weite Strecken des Romans ganz großartig mit Suspense. Der Leser weiß (so er den Film nicht gesehen hat und noch nie was über das Buch gehört hat) bis zum letzten Kapitel nicht, ob all dieser Horror nicht der überbordenden Fantasie einer von Alpträumen geplagten Schwangeren entsprungen ist. Der Umstand, dass manche Frauen mit gesundheitlich problematischem Verlauf ihrer Schwangerschaft oft zu teilweise wahnhaften Hysterien neigen, ist ja auch psychologisch ganz gut erforscht, theoretisch hätte das Buch auch diametral entgegengesetzt ausgehen können und alles wäre nur ein böser Traum gewesen. Solch ein Ende hätte mir weit besser gefallen, vielleicht noch mit einem offenen Cliffhanger für den zweiten Teil - ein böser Blick, ein teuflisches Lachen.... irgendeines der Protagonisten - dass sich vielleicht alle trotzdem getäuscht haben.
Stattdessen wird dem Leser ein total peinliches teuflisch-esoterisches Ende serviert, in dem das Baby Hörner, Klauen und Schwänzchen hat. Mir ist schon klar, dass diese Entwicklung des Romans dem Zeitgeist geschuldet war, denn in den späten 60er und 70er Jahre waren alle Romane und Drehbücher nicht nur von Suspense sondern im Finale auch immer von kitschigen Horrorelementen geprägt - wie auch der Exorzist, Das Omen, Carrie, Shining und wie sie alle hießen und den Leuten standen während Diskussionen um Hexenzirkel, Teufelsanbetung und Alistair Crowley die Haare zu Berge. Solange dieser Horror nur subtil angedeutet wird und sich als Wahn im Kopf der Protagonisten abspielt, finde ich es gruselig-großartig, wenn aber dann wirklich Schwänze, Klauen und Hörner wachsen, muss ich immer lachen, da das ganze so grotesk ist. Und Lachen ist nicht gerade ein gutes Zeichen für einen Horrorplot.
Fazit: Ein spannender guter Suspense-Roman, der mich bis zum vorletzten Kapitel gepackt hat. Literarisch ist er kein großer Wurf, aber ein Pageturner. Er hat mich bis auf das Ende gut unterhalten und war im Finale leider unfreiwillig komisch.
Thanks to Rosie Amber from Rosie’s Book Review Team (authors, check here if you would like your books reviewed) and to the author for providing me with a copy of the book that I freely chose to review.
Zero Slade is the narrator of this story that packs plenty of action, violence, and darkness in under three hundred pages. He is a flawed hero or even an anti-hero. He drinks too much, he takes prescription painkillers (of course, no longer prescribed, although there’s little doubt that he is in pain); he loves his wife but lies to her and cannot share his feelings; he is good at his job but is falling into a downward spiral where he makes mistakes, often makes the wrong decisions and gets himself and others into trouble. He is a master of witty retorts (although these seem to take the form of a mental commentary rather than things he tells people, as he pretends, both for professional and for personal reasons to be calm, collected, and not easily fazed), and dark-humour and a cynical point-of-view are second-nature to him. His style of internal dialogue reminded me of noir-novels and of the voice-over narrations used by film-noir detectives of the thirties and forties. He is big, strong, and, in appearance at least, tough. And he needs to be, to do the job he does.
The book’s subject is horrific, and although the novel does not go into a lot of detail about sex trafficking, it does highlight the reality of it, the terrible statistics, and the experiences of the young girls and of those who try to help them, often with little long-term success. Doing such a job requires special qualities and takes a toll on all those involved. Zero reflects on the motley crew he works with early on in the novel and when we meet the new recruit he is supposed to train, Caleb, we wonder what he has in common with the rest and how he came to be there. He seems too together. A Buddhist who always sees the positive side of every situation. Of course, things are not always what they seem, and Zero is not the only one keeping secrets.
Coping with such extreme experiences is not easy. Zero’s first-person narration allows the reader to get inside his head and share his techniques to try and avoid getting emotionally involved and overwhelmed by what he sees. His drinking, his drug abuse, and his defence mechanisms and strategies all point to the fact that rather than being hard, tough, and unfeeling, he is trying to protect himself because otherwise, he’d crack.
We don’t get to know all of the secondary characters well (the book is short, but we do get a good sense of what Zero thinks about them, even if he is not always the best judge of character and he gets more than one surprise) but especially those on the good side are varied, interesting, sympathetic, and morally complex. We don’t know every single detail of Zero’s life either (and he spends a fair amount of time under the influence of drink, drugs, both, or in pain) but he shares enough of his memories and experiences for us to root for him. We know how he met his wife, we learn about his brother’s passing, and even about some bad things that he might or might not have done. Many unreliable narrators sometimes try to paint themselves in a positive light, but although Zero is in denial about his addictions, he is a master of understatement and skilled at putting himself down.
I have once again highlighted a lot of the book, but just a few samples of a novel that’s eminently quotable:
Whenever people say, “It could always be worse,” they’re right … unless they’re talking about what the Lost Girls have been through. That’s where worse ends.
Talking about a superheroes blockbuster movie: It’s about Lycra overcoming evil.
I hate that playing a pedophile comes more naturally to me than being myself.
The trouble is, the camera always takes five pounds off the truth.
The flight attendant returns with my refill. Saved by the bourbon.
One of the nurses helping him move tells him: “Okay, this is always the hard part.” The perfect title for my autobiography.
This is a fast novel, sharp both in action and in style, with fabulous dialogue and a quick-fire and pared-down writing that is dynamic and vibrant. It also has a big heart, deals with a very serious subject, and manages to convey the depth of feeling of a character that goes to big lengths to hide that he is a big softy. Ah, and the ending is great too.
If you don’t mind a fair amount of violence (never gratuitous, but still…), the subject matter, and like heroes down on their luck with plenty of verbal style, you are in for a treat with this novel. An author to follow closely and an important subject.
Rosemary's Baby is not very scary but it was pretty strange and I enjoyed it.
Rosemary and her husband were really wanting to get into the Bramford apartment complex and right when they had signed a lease on another apartment it becomes available and Rosemary begs her husband Guy to get them out of the lease and into the Bramford. Wrong move on her part! :)
Not real long after they had been living there they meet an old couple who really seems to take over their lives but Rosemary doesn't see it until it's to late. Rosemary doesn't see a lot of things till it's too late. I know I keep saying wake up woman!
It wasn't to long after they met the old couple that Guy gets his big break in acting and it seems he is on fire with his career and then Rosemary gets pregnant and that is when the old couple really become a bit obsessed with her and the care of her baby, they even get her to go to a doctor they recommend, give her vitamin drinks, etc.
Like a lot of older horror it was more atmospheric than scary. The reader can see what his happening and is worried for Rosemary though she is a bit slow to realize what is happening. There was a few times I really wanted to scream at Rosemary for not catching onto things that were happening around her.
The ending is a little strange and well I don't know. I am not even sure what I was expecting. I do think I am glad that I read this one before seeing the movie and now I would like to watch the movie. (Seeing the movie ruined my enjoyment of The Exorcist novel).
I am reading this book called Paperbacks from Hell and it's the history of the horror industry from the 70's and 80's and the author says there was three books that really was a turning point for horror and those are The Exorcist, Rosemary's Baby and The Other. So I have one more to go and I will have all three read. :) Let me tell you this book is wreaking havoc on my TBR...lol.
Even though it's classed as horror I think I would put it as more suspense than horror, especially towards the end. I would recommend it to those who might like a little spooky suspense as it would be great for those who don't like to get to scared. I know a few of you out there...lol.