Mortdecai Question #13: Once A Mysogynist....

by Kyril Bonfiglioli

Moderator: Liz

User avatar
fireflydances
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 3107
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:15 pm
Location: under a pile of books
Contact:

Status: Offline

Mortdecai Question #13: Once A Mysogynist....

Unread postby fireflydances » Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:39 am

Read the attached review by Sadie Stein that appeared in the Paris Review on January 20, 2015:



Note the reviewer's rather strenuous opinion about Mortdecai’s attitude towards women. What’s your reaction? What do you think of Bonfiglioli’s two portraits of women in the book we read? Those of you who’ve read one or more of the books which are part of the Mortdecai trilogy, please step up and give us your opinion based on your reading.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

User avatar
stroch
Posts: 1263
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:41 pm
Location: New Orleans

Status: Offline

Re: Mortdecai Question #13: Once A Mysogynist....

Unread postby stroch » Sat Mar 07, 2015 2:24 pm

I, too, read Woodshed first and was appalled by it. It was not so much the fact that the plot revolved around a series of rapes of the wives in Mortdecai's circle, but the implication that the victims rather enjoyed the tumble, or could not be relied on to give a rational account of the incident.

Add to that the unending insults of the intelligence, emotional stability, appearance, and veracity of women, in general and in particular. It was nasty and mean-spirited, and it left me with little sympathy for KB and his "comedy." As the writer stated, the damage was done.

The tone was lighter in the other books, but, still there was little to suggest that the writer had any appreciation for women. Happily, the movie did not reflect any of that.
I'll buy you the hat....a really big one.
St. Roch -- patron saint of pilgrims

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Re: Mortdecai Question #13: Once A Mysogynist....

Unread postby Liz » Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:08 pm

Well, I never would have come away from the book we read here thinking what Sadie Stein did. I found Johanna to be a very strong character. And I didn't see Charlie as a misogynist. And I can only go by the book that I have read.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
fireflydances
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 3107
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:15 pm
Location: under a pile of books
Contact:

Status: Offline

Re: Mortdecai Question #13: Once A Mysogynist....

Unread postby fireflydances » Sun Mar 08, 2015 1:15 am

If ever there was a case for reading more than one book of a given writer, this is surely one!
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

User avatar
stroch
Posts: 1263
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:41 pm
Location: New Orleans

Status: Offline

Re: Mortdecai Question #13: Once A Mysogynist....

Unread postby stroch » Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:47 am

If you want to get a brief flavor of it, the opening pages of Woodshed are available as a preview on Amazon. See the description of "George's Wife."



Did not want to quote it here.

TGMMM was fine.
I'll buy you the hat....a really big one.

St. Roch -- patron saint of pilgrims

User avatar
fireflydances
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 3107
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:15 pm
Location: under a pile of books
Contact:

Status: Offline

Re: Mortdecai Question #13: Once A Mysogynist....

Unread postby fireflydances » Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:42 am

Thank you for the link, stroch. I've spent the last hour looking through the book, and then going on and looking at Goodreads, a website that always provides excellent and meaty reviews so you can get other opinions on a book.

I definitely see what you mean, not a book for the ladies book club that meets Thursdays at the dinner! Although you never know. But I have to admit it makes me curious. The style is very different, and NOW I get the reference to black humor whereas earlier I simply couldn't figure what folks were looking at. His description of George's wife reminded me of Liz Taylor in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and I even went and checked the date of publication (1976) because I wondered if he was playing off that. A quote from one reviewer, "Checking any sensitivities at the door is the best way to read the Mortdecai novels. This one is a step up, stylistically, from the first novel, and it does have its mordant charm."

Once again I am deeply frustrated by the fact that the memoir that Bonfiglioli's second wife wrote about him is totally beyond reach -- The Mortdecai ABC, with a cheapest listed price of US$120.00 --"Using the ABC formula beloved by Kyril Bonfiglioli himself, Margaret Bonfiglioli - his second wife - has woven a fascinating portrait of this most enigmatic of writers and provided an intriguing guide to the books he wrote."

I don't think a writer is what he writes, although he or she obviously makes choices in deciding what to put out there. So a thoroughly mucky, black comedy read needn't say a thing about the man's personal outlook on life, nor even his attitude towards women.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

User avatar
nebraska
Posts: 27303
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:15 pm
Location: near Omaha

Status: Offline

Re: Mortdecai Question #13: Once A Mysogynist....

Unread postby nebraska » Sun Mar 08, 2015 1:19 pm

stroch wrote:If you want to get a brief flavor of it, the opening pages of Woodshed are available as a preview on Amazon. See the description of "George's Wife."


Did not want to quote it here.

TGMMM was fine.

I followed the link and read the paragraph about George's Wife, and I did not find it offensive. I thought it was very cleverly written, I felt by the end of the description I knew a lot about what this woman looked like and a lot about how her mind worked (or didn't work) and it told me a bit about the character relating the description as well. Perhaps she was a bit of a cliché, but I think clichés become that way by being familiar to us.

User avatar
fireflydances
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 3107
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:15 pm
Location: under a pile of books
Contact:

Status: Offline

Re: Mortdecai Question #13: Once A Mysogynist....

Unread postby fireflydances » Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:10 pm

I completely agree with your thoughts on the subject, nebraska. :hatsoff:
Humor often treads a wary line.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

User avatar
stroch
Posts: 1263
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:41 pm
Location: New Orleans

Status: Offline

Re: Mortdecai Question #13: Once A Mysogynist....

Unread postby stroch » Mon Mar 09, 2015 6:48 am

I'm not arguing the point with you all; everyone has their own take. Nebraska, you are right, he drew the characters with flair, and was none too gentle with the men either. I'd be interested to hear your opinions if you read the book as it was a tough go for me.
I'll buy you the hat....a really big one.

St. Roch -- patron saint of pilgrims

User avatar
fireflydances
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 3107
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:15 pm
Location: under a pile of books
Contact:

Status: Offline

Re: Mortdecai Question #13: Once A Mysogynist....

Unread postby fireflydances » Mon Mar 09, 2015 3:57 pm

Oh, sorry, didn't mean to make you feel our responses were directed at you. Not the the least. Thank you so much for finding the excerpt, and giving all parties a chance to 'think out loud' about how they would handle such a book.

:mortdecai2:
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

User avatar
shaman-art
Posts: 367
Joined: Thu May 07, 2009 12:19 pm
Location: near Hamburg (Germany)

Status: Offline

Re: Mortdecai Question #13: Once A Mysogynist....

Unread postby shaman-art » Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:54 am

Hm. I've read them all and I wasn't offended. OK, some clichés here and there, but nothing too bad for my taste.

User avatar
SnoopyDances
Posts: 45602
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:12 pm
Location: Tashmore Lake

Status: Offline

Re: Mortdecai Question #13: Once A Mysogynist....

Unread postby SnoopyDances » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:35 am

I've only read the one book, but I was interested in reading the others.
I wasn't terribly offended by this book and just thought that Mortdecai, the character, felt all humans were beneath him...that he was above the rest and just tolerated the others that inhabited the planet. Thought that was part of the comedy factor, since he wasn't all that upper crust in reality, he just thought he was. He relied on Jock and Johanna for everything.

The movie version played that bit even further by making him a bumbling idiot, yet he still thought he was above the rest.

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Re: Mortdecai Question #13: Once A Mysogynist....

Unread postby Liz » Tue Mar 10, 2015 2:09 pm

I personally WAS offended by the description of George's wife. It was very sexist. I skimmed the rest of the introduction, and Bon was a lot more complimentary of George. The general population of the island, not so much.

I was not offended at all by TGMMM. I felt it he was equally insulting to both men and women, :lol: And it was humorous. But he was complimentary of Jock and Johanna. So it was fine.

Keep in mind, it was the mid 70s. I'm sure he was not alone in his sexism.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


Return to “The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest