Saturday, 6 December 2008

The Seal Wife

By Kathryn Harrison

(best-selling author of 'The Binding Chair' which I've never heard of)

This is the second in a series of five books I bought for $5 each at The Book Grocer.

Early 1900's, Alaska. A meteorological man from mainland USA gets posted to Alaska to work as a weather-measurer or whatever it's called. Meteorologist.

He meets a mute Ennuit woman, who I shall call Mute One. He follows her home. She won't let him go down on her, but she lets him fuck her as she plays with her clit until she orgasms. They do this every night for months. He takes food to her, she cooks it, they fuck. No oral.

Don't think I'm being crude for the sake of it by the way. It's what's in the book.

Anyway, the mute Ennuit never speaks because she's a mute. You know. And the science / meteorologist dude, well, he talks a lot about his work on pressure systems but he doesn't know if she understands English or not because a) she doesn't really seem to listen to him and b) she's a mute.

One day she vanishes.

So he gets drunk at a dance and fucks a hooker with missing teeth and the hooker steals his money.

Later, he goes back to the same hooker and this time when she tries to take his money he belts her.

Then he develops a crush on the woman who sings at the cinema. He finally meets her. She's a mute as well, so lets call her Mute Two. Though, she's not really a mute because she can sing. But she can't talk because of her bad stutter so she writes down what she wants to say. Anyhoo, he visits her regularly, then when her father goes away they start to have sex and the father suddenly rushes in and says (paraphrasing) "now that you've shagged my daughter you have to marry her." Turns out it was a sting. He doesn't want to marry Mute Two so he avoids her. She smashes up all his temperature measuring things and then she leaves town in violent circumstances.

Luckily for him, Mute One, the eskimo, comes back. He starts fucking her again, but still no oral. The end.


For the many Perseus Q scholars out there who study my every word, you'll be aware that in my excellent review of Margaret Atwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale' I confessed that I didn't get it. However, I had the good manners to concede that maybe I was too dumb to get it.

Not so this time. I just didn't get it, and I don't think it has anything to do with my intelligence or lack thereof. I just think that whatever it was I was supposed to 'get' is either way too abstract or way too stupid, ergo, it can't be gotten unless you're a sprite or a fool.

Y'see, I can understand a man of civilisation falling for an Ennuit mute. I was ready to accept that this was a book of clashing cultures and the establishment of the USA as a highly conflicted but ultimately benchmarking nation. She could skin rabbits with her bare hands and sew like a Goddess, and he was a modern handyman - a man who could predict weather patterns and thus greatly assist the fledgling economy. The new meets the old and they work together. He's loud and she's quiet but together they present a dignified future for the nation.

I thought that was what I was reading.

But when Mute Two came into it (who wasn't an eskimo), suddenly there was a sexual pattern. The whole 'clash of cultures' fell away and instead I was reading a story of a man's sexual fascination with mutes... written by a woman.

Kathryn Harrison: You don't get men.

Unless! Unless, I've got it all wrong, and there's nothing to get. Maybe she's just into kinky mute sex. Maybe she fantasises about being a mute, and being fucked by a man of science (no oral). Maybe that's it.

So I googled 'sex with mutes' and found one gag about a 'Harposexual' being a person who prefers sex with mutes but will settle for a mime (I didn't laugh, but it is a clever joke) and one post at a sex blog that said this:

"I have a cock with a curve and I've heard no complaints which doesn't mean anything cause I have sex with mutes exclusively. mine doesn't curve left or right but it curves dramatically up. like a 45 degree angle. some girls have said it helped. In that case it sure as hell helped me."

Maybe bendy-cock here should meet up with Kathryn Harrison in a carpark somewhere.


The book was alright, I suppose. Meaningless, but, you know, I kept reading. The stuff about the weather was actually the most interesting bit.

I give it a D+


Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Still ,must make a nice change from Leviticus, eh Pers.

Perseus said...

That's true.

But the sex is better in the Bible.

Melba said...

Well, thanks for the review. But no thanks. It sounds pretty bad. Life is too short I realise now to spend time on books that aren't higher than a B or so. Especially if there's no oral.

Lewd Bob said...

Surely this is a misogynist's fantasy (apart from the lack of oral). I mean, sex with a woman who can't talk! No talking back. No nagging. No complaining about how shit the sex is. No talk about how boring a meteorologist is. I can see bogans the world over talking about the benefits over a glass of Jack Daniels & Coke. Imagine if the Inuit (I suspect, Persues, that saying 'eskimo' is akin to saying 'nigger'...albeit a little less offensive) could talk:
"Jesus Christ will you shut the fuck up about the weather you boring fuck! And that's not my clit, that's the opening to my urethra! A little higher, dickhead. The reason I don't want you to lick my pussy is because I just know you'll be shit at it. And I wouldn't put that bendy little cock in my mouth if you paid me. Jesus it's cold in here!"

Perseus said...

Eskimo is nigger? Really? Oops.

It is a misogynist's fantasy, but written by a chick, so, you know, go figure.

"A little higher, dickhead"

Ah, I remember those days.


Melba: Yes, life is too short, but for better evidence of this, wait for my next review... 'The Costello Memoirs'.

My libido is shot.

Aesophia said...

I too have been noticing a distinct lack of above B grade books in your reviews - what gives? If they don't rate for you (and by all appearances, you seem to have much wider and more sophisticated literal tastes), then why on earth would I read them? Apart from the Bible, which is just plain hysterical reading (read: you are awesome, pity I'm taken).

Have you maybe thought about perusing (or Perseusing - hur hur) the library shelves before forking out for the books you don't actually end up enjoying? I mean sure, it's only $5 at the book grocer but still, that precious beer/scotch/alcohol-of-choice money right there.

Anyway, crappy grades aside, I want more Bible! What's your ETA on the next review?

squib said...

I saw Costello's book the other day and I felt a momentary pang of sympathy or you Persey and this was followed by a wry-sadistic smile

The Seal Wife was justly remaindered it seems

Melba said...

Actually, now I think of it, did Kathryn Harrison write that incestuous father/daughter novel called the Kiss or similar?

It's ringing a bell.

Perseus said...

Melba: Yes, that's her.

Aesophia: I read arbitrarily, but yes, I mark hard. Early in this blog's life I gave George Orwell's 'Essays' an A++, I gave The Road an A, and True Grit got a B+, so it's not all bad.

Perseus said...

Oh, and I'll do another Bible instalment over Christmas.

Melba said...

Then that explains it. Nutjob. And I wasn't being critical of your reading or your ratings. Just saying I won't be reading it. But I love your reviews. And I like the variety of your reading choices.

Cath said...

The variety is good... but they are varieties of shit most recently aren't they? Gets soul destroying to read crap all the time.

At least a spot of chick-lit here and there would lighten the mood.


Melba said...

He just did the chick-lit, Cath.

But there was no clit-lick.

Which is what some of us are complaining about. Maybe. But it's not P's fault the mute wasn't into it.