Dirty Weekend

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Bella, a young woman living alone in Brighton, is terrorized by an obscene phone-caller. The aggressor lives nearby and when he starts to harass Bella in the street, she decides she has had enough. She proceeds to murder her oppressor and then a whole series of predatory males.

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theslackersbookclub

Jul 6, 2010

Dirty, But Somebody Has To Do It

Finally found the "right" Dirty Weekend after reading some murder mystery that I reserved at the library, forgetting to double check the author. This Dirty Weekend is by Helen Zahavi. It is also set in England and dead bodies pile up. Bella is not a picara. She is neither a heroine nor a victim; however, at risk of sounding like a male chauvinist, she seems to encourage the sexual attacks that barrage her. She is very reminiscent of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, although she is nowhere as clever, but the same sense of tension, revenge and determination.

Also some shades of Gonzo in the book, given the abbreviated time frame and the pace at which the deviants keep coming. But no drugs contribute to Bella's reality. It is warped nonetheless.

Despite lyric prose, the characterization is cartoonish. Dialogue is Cole Porter repartee, motivation and depth missing.

In my quest to read picaresque novels this year, I cannot force-fit books into this genre, but surely this is not one. Bella's quest is for revenge. The humor is so dark, only few will laugh. The sexual adventures are more power plays than lust. She has no guide, no enlightenment. In fact, there is no denouement: the cops don't come (hence no close escapes) and the weekend simply runs out of hours and weapons of choice. I would recommend the book, but only to a select few, those whose tastes run to the eccentric, the absinthe drinkers.

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