Dina Polizzi’s first novella Two Apache Sisters and a Texas Gigolo was on my read-list for awhile, not only because Polizzi is my friend and neighbor but due to its marriage of magic, tarot, and its esoteric nature, which all interest me.
Two Apache Sisters struck me immediately as an allegory — the caliber that I haven’t experienced, really, since Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” — due to its penchant for placing big-motif meaning in occult-shaded trinkets and persons. There’s the coin, the many bags and satchels, the star, the green fairy, a shell, an arrowhead, a water bottle, salt, and even the Oriental man who recites philosophical tag lines — each in their own time.
After much effort I finally finished Mikail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita (Russian, 1967), which a student recommended to me years ago when she heard that I was interested in exploring how and why the “devil” becomes female in literature. This, my seventh installment, presents what may seem at first a challenge to the rule that the devil is feminized or female, at least at some point, in most texts.
I generally enjoy reading Russian literature of the 20th century but my first dance with Bulgakov had me shooting in all kinds of directions. I was enamored with his satirical imagery that often bordered on surrealism. At times he painted such vivid pictures of the most ridiculous acts and people that I found myself pausing to imagine these images as they would appear in a film. Maybe one directed by Maya Duren or David Lynch.
If Patrick Bateman in Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho (American, 1991) doesn’t actually sadistically kill numerous women, children, and maybe a few men, then this novel is possibly the saddest story ever told.
Many years ago I watched Christian Bale play Bateman in the film American Pscyho but for some reason while I do remember the INXS and the murder scenes, I do not remember the abundant fascination with AIDS, Bateman’s barely concealed homoerotic desires, nor the very important role of the homeless (and dominating theme of homelessness). 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.
The most repeated phrase in the book is “a nameless dread,” which Bateman uses over and again to describe his feelings. Other than this phrase, the second most repeated word was “sad.” Then, maybe “red.”