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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Narcissus in Chains Chapter Thirty Two

Dottie's post is here 

You know, one thing I do like about the AB books is that LKH shows Anita doing things like brushing her teeth. That doesn't come up often in fiction so it's refreshing to see Anita think about these little things. That said, it's immediately marred by the fact that Anita continually rejects or forgets about food.

They angst about the fact that Dr. Lillian put an I.V. in Gregory, for this surely means he is in critical condition even though I.V.s of various fluids are standard for any number of medical things, many of them non emergent. We must take a few sentences to talk about Nate's ridiculously long hair and how he's "so comfortable" with it. Gregory is apparently out there talking about Raina, because wow, the rape ghost traumatized him! Who could have possibly foreseen this outcome???

There is a truly gag worthy section where Nathaniel plants his tongue firmly between Anita's butt cheeks. Not literally, because if it were literal we might have something approaching real erotica and that's not allowed in a LKH book.

More nauseating twaddle about how Anita protects the leopards out of the goodness of her heart, and she's such a saint, and Nathaniel feels the need to underscore this by kneeling in front of her like she's an angel shouting fear not at him. Nate also confirms that Raina ate his penis on tape.

"He was so much a victim, so much anyone's meat."

Have I mentioned that the way Anita talks about abuse survivors is really gross? Because it is. She can't just say that Nate is a vulnerable person or susceptible to mistreatment. She has to speak of him like he's a fragile object to be passed around from person to person, and she's afraid that eventually too tight a grip will shatter her pretty little flower vase.

Then, Anita gives me a line that, were it another character saying it, would inspire actual empathy in me:

"What do you say while someone whispers horrors in your ear, their most intimate, nightmarish secrets?  You sit and you listen. And you give them the only thing you can--the silence and the safety to talk and be heard." 

HOW CAN YOU DO THIS TO ME, LKH? It's like there's a little part of you that's still struggling to comprehend human emotion and every once in awhile it fights free of the black mire that is your narcissism. It's like these passages are that little part screaming for help. Remember the bit in The Exorcist where the words help me show up on Reagen's abdomen? That's what this is. But then we're right back to your mother sucks cocks in hell, Karras.

Anita and Nate have a real bonding moment where Nate tells her not to get all guilty about her supposed exploitation of him. I like this because she's basically using what Nate told her as a reason to feel like a user, omg.

Nathaniel wants to be Anita's pomme de sang and because Anita is a judgmental jerk she refuses him just because she has her head up her own ass and conflates submission with victimhood. DESPITE supposedly realizing before this that she's been doing exactly that, and how wrong it is, here we are back at square one.

Anita says the most mind boggling sentence: "But in some ways feeding off Nathaniel because he was the only one that would let me, was almost worse."

I am forced to conclude that Anita conflates consent with weakness. She hates consent. Remember way back when in the start of this travesty of a novel where she doesn't like the idea that Asher might want to top Narcissus? She thinks sex is wrong if a person wants to do it. It makes them dirty. It makes them perverts. Wanting to engage in sex, especially kinky sex, means you are damaged goods.

Richard shows up and we're meant to take this as a momentous event, because the chapter ends there.


  1. (I could watch Benedict drink tea angrily all day. ALL. DAY.)

    What would be nice is if LKH actually wrote more about Anita's quirks and the problems they could cause: like, you know, her breath smelling bad from her constant undereating, fainting or collapsing due to malnutrition, injuries taking longer to heal (speshul powers nonewithstanding), etc.

    Of course, then you can go too far with that; Gini Koch's "Aliens" series treats sex like this, to the point where it's constantly being mentioned that Kitty and her husband fuck like weasels to the point it's gotten to be terribly hilarious. (Well. That, and Kitty herself is such a Mary Sue it's aggravating, while the world around her is so fascinating it's the only reason I keep reading them.)

    1. Oh I WISH Laurell had the ability to write a realistic eating disorder. Now that, I would be excited to read about.

  2. “You know, one thing I do like about the AB books is that LKH shows Anita doing things like brushing her teeth. That doesn't come up often in fiction so it's refreshing to see Anita think about these little things. That said, it's immediately marred by the fact that Anita continually rejects or forgets about food.”

    I have mixed feelings on this because I really do wish there was more of this in fiction and I try to do it with mine, but LKH tends to make it drawn-out and boring so that instead of making it feel realistic it just feels pointless instead. It also likewise makes it so I can’t ignore that she ignores food and the like, since the assumption that oh she ate it just wasn’t mentioned because it wasn’t important doesn’t work if you’re mentioning everything else she does.

    I was actually truly hoping he did put his tongue literally in her ass, I admit.

    Yeah, Anita’s way of talking about abuse survivors is so, so fucking gross. And it’s not treated as wrong or just her own screwed-up perception or something she should get over, which is the REAL problem.

    …you are right about her and consent and it gives me the chills

    (haven’t been commenting for awhile because I haven’t been reading, I’m kinda Anita’d out and now I am reminded why)

    1. I can't blame you for being Anita-d out. Some of these chapters have caused me real feelings of rage and despair. Of course writing something horrible isn't the same as committing a horrible act, and I'm not suggesting that LKH is responsible for triggering me per se but holy fuck woman THINK a little before you write. I am READY to read about the dark side of the human soul, I really am, but it has to feel intentional to work. After reading this book several times I truly feel that LKH as a person is incapable of that sort of depth. I don't like to conflate the author and their work (unless the author is a bigot donating his proceeds to anti gay groups or something, in which case all bets are off) but she makes it IMPOSSIBLE not to, by her own admissions.

      And really, how awful does someone have to be to call an abuse survivor meat? I want to pick up my computer and bash it on the desk like a gorilla after writing that.