Monday, September 12, 2011

Bananasuit Examines the Women of "The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing"

Readers (all four of you!), we're having a lot of fun with the PBR Book Club, and what we'd love is to get a lot of different responses to the various sections of the novel and create a collage of voices worthy of the book itself. Get in touch if you'd like to write something.

Here's our co-captain Bananasuit's take on the first section of the novel. Come watch her shotgun a PBR at our first meeting on Sept. 29 at the Replay!

"Yes, I will shotgun a PBR! Although what I'd like to shotgun is a martini. I'll save that one for the Pig.

Clearly, in the first seafaring section of Cloud Atlas, we're situated in a masculine realm. Let's inventory the female characters encountered so far, shall we?

1. That corpse in petticoats, Marchioness Grace, who's going to be gifted a set of cannibalistic dentures via Dr. Goose.

2. Your run-of-the-mill sullen maids and whores at the service of the seamen.

3. Mrs. Evans, that dull churchlady who retires to her kitchen duties after serving Sunday dinner.

4. Widow Bryden, a frigid old sow who requires "Dr. Quack" to frisk her, for medical reasons.

5. Kupaka's wife, who naively serves Kupaka the poisonous fish that will send his slave Autua to the whipping block.

What really fascinates me, in this first section, is the clashing of a rational world, governed by clocks, statute books, and soup tureens, with a more "indelible, fearsome & sublime" cthonic realm, where clocks stop working and rotting hog's hearts hang from trees. Will Adam's mysterious parasite make him surrender to this realm -- ruled by slaves, cannibals, and whores -- or will he learn, as the conquistadors before him, to manipulate and subdue the magical for his own unimaginable power & riches? Stay tuned.

My favorite line from Section 1: "Torgny, give me your gift instanter or, by the hinges of hell, you shall regret the day you crawled from your mother's [my quill curls at recording his profanity]."

And my favorite character: Boerhaave, that brutish first-mate, who's first introduced on page 7, sitting "amidst his cabal of trusted ruffians like Lord Anaconda & his garter-snakes." The ultimate villain. And, he's Dutch!

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