“In Malice, Quite Close” by Brandi Lynn Ryder

In Malice, Quite Close, by Brandi Lynn Ryder

I started reading but have not finished (and probably won’t finish) Brandi Lynn Gardner’s In Malice Quite Close. It is really good, engrossing and very well-written. If you like art, drama, intrigue and Humbert Humbert, then all of those elements and more exist in Brandi Lynn Ryder’s debut novel.

So why am I not going to finish, since it’s so good? Timing. This book comes on the heels of my reading two books (The Beginners, by Rebecca Wolff & The End of Everything, by Megan Abbot) concerning ambiguous and dodgy sexual relationships between either confused or downright non-consenting teenage girls and the males in their lives. Reading about a much older man abducting a vulnerable teenage girl and reshaping her life puts me over my tolerance threshold for this particular brand of female exploitation.

If Lolita-esque novels appeal, then this book will have a lot to offer. Frenchman Tristan Mouralt spots fifteen-year-old Karen on the streets of San Francisco, and decides that he just has to have her, so he takes her. Of course. Befriending the unhappy girl he makes her complicit in her own disappearance and renames her Gisele. When Gisele is eighteen he marries her off to unsophisticated Luke in order to mask the nature of their relationship to each other. Gisele and Luke have a ten-year-old daughter who figures prominently in the story – she discovers a basement full of nude paintings, all of Gisele. Luke reluctantly takes credit for the paintings, even though he knows that he isn’t capable of such exquisite and provoking work. The plot thickens further and unfolds from there as secrets threaten to expose the life Tristan has built for them all. Though I wasn’t in the head space for this novel, but I it was definitely worthy of a mention for those who might be.

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 The Invasion, by K.A. Applegate   Book Review

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  1. While I can definitely see the appeal based on your reaction to the novel, I can also see how one can cross a line with reading such exploitative books. I can only read so many “gender depressing” books in a row. Same with child abuse; it took me a year to read Room after reading Living Dead Girl. I have to spread those out.

    1. I understand, but you missed out on a great ending. ;). Really is a great book. I’d go so far as to call it a “modern day classic”. As a lit major, I can see this being used in a college course.

    2. Yes, exactly. I need a little room for this one. I just heard that it has a really great ending, so maybe I will try again early next year. But on the heels of the others, it was just too much being in a head space that I didn’t enjoy.

  2. Certain aspects of this book remind me of The Collector by John Fowles, which is a book that really creeped me out. There is something about the aspect of a grown man stealing an underage girl away for his sexual pleasures that is very disturbing to me, and I can’t imagine that I would really be able to appreciate this book. Perhaps it is because I have a teenage daughter, but more likely, it is because this is a subject that borders on a taboo that makes me a little squeamish. I can understand why you had trouble finishing this one. I probably would have too. Thanks for sharing your candid thoughts on this one.

  3. I don’t have any problems putting stuff down. There is always something else that will hold your interest more, so just move on.

    “If Lolita-esque novels appeal” I thought that was an interesting phrase only because I don’t think anyone–or at least, I hope no one–was actually attract to Lolita due to the “creepy old man is obsessed with young girl thing.” It’s the writing and two of the most messed up characters ever (and the impending train wreck) that people want to experience when they read Lolita. Or at least that’s my hope in thinking there is no such thing as a genre of pedo-lit in which readers are actually attracted to the plot device.

  4. I hit my threshold when I finished Lacee Dugard’s memoir of being kidnapped at age 11 and being held for 18 years by her kidnapper. I know for sure I can’t read anything (fiction or nonfiction) that deals with this kind of topic for awhile to come.

  5. Oh no I’ll pass. thanks for enduring it for me. I tried to read Lolita last year or so, and just couldn’t do it. It wasn’t the subject matter, it was the stalking and complete enrapture of Lolita. Ok I got it you want Lolita.

    I hope these books do not become popular.