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Books by the Blogger:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« Fforde, Jasper: Lost in a Good Book | Main | Nelson, Sara: So Many Books, So Little Time »

Highsmith, Patricia: Deep Water

  

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W. W. Norton & Company © 2003 (orig. pub. 1957), 256 pages [amazon]
3.5 stars

Thirty-six-year-old Victor Van Allen is being cuckolded, quite blatantly. For a number of years his wife Melinda has paraded a succession of lovers around their small town of Little Wesley, Massachusetts, dragging the men along to the Van Allens' dinner engagements with friends, dancing with them provocatively, entertaining them in night-long debauches in the Van Allens' home. Victor's friends shake their heads or offer him extra desserts at parties--pity food--and they marvel at his reaction to the insult: Victor is a paragon of patience. He allows Melinda her lovers, only wishing that she attracted a higher quality paramour. Still, Victor is not as unconcerned about Melinda's behavior as he appears. He regularly forces himself to stay awake and chaperone his wife's "dates" in their living room rather than please the couple by retiring to his separate bedroom. And, near the beginning of the novel, Victor announces to his wife's most recent flame that he once killed a lover of hers, a certain Malcolm McRae. Victor is lying, but McRae had been pummeled to death in his New York apartment, and his murderer had not been identified.

Thirty-six-year-old Victor Van Allen is being cuckolded, quite blatantly. For a number of years his wife Melinda has paraded a succession of lovers around their small town of Little Wesley, Massachusetts, dragging the men along to the Van Allens' dinner engagements with friends, dancing with them provocatively, entertaining them in night-long debauches in the Van Allens' home.This being a Patricia Highsmith novel, it cannot be a good thing for our put-upon protagonist to confess to a murder he did not commit, and the reader begins at once to wonder how this misstep of Victor's will lead to his undoing. But it is unlikely that readers will correctly anticipate precisely how Victor's story plays itself out.

Patricia Highsmith--the author of, among many other novels, Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mister Ripley--is a master of suspense. Deep Water shares with her other books a certain remarkable slowness. Highsmith's characters unhurriedly attend to the minutiae of their lives. They entertain friends and admire artwork and do the gardening, they take drives and prepare supper. Very often it seems that nothing is happening in one of her books, and yet as the pages turn the reader becomes more and more tense, wondering when precisely the axe will fall--for it certainly will fall. By the end of Deep Water the pages turn very fast indeed.

[Deep Water also shares with some of Highsmith's other novels (Found in the Street) a bizarre vision of parenthood. The Van Allens have a highly disposable daughter, perhaps eight years old, who spends her days in other people's homes, or playing contentedly by herself in her own room. She is sometimes left alone in the house. She is abandoned at the movies when her mother forgets to pick her up. Meanwhile the Van Allens' social calendar is chock full of late-night dinner parties and those uncomfortable threesomes in the living room. Part of this abuse of the daughter has to do with the storyline: Melinda is intended to be a very poor mother. But Victor, the "good" parent, leaves the house for those parties just as often as his wife does.]

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Book-blog.com reviews by Debra Hamel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.