MERIEL BROOKE – AN UNDESIRABLE MARRIAGE – 2016
I swear I am not going to whet
your appetite? First because I can’t since I have no whet stone and I do not
want to drown it into tears and all kind of wet droppings and drippings.
This is a long family saga about
love, un-love and maybe faithless hatred hiding under these love stories on the
surface of things. There is nothing more tricky and treacherous than love that
can turn to anything in a minute and yet be revived with no reason what-so-ever
in another minute. Love is an attachment that is unreasonable and irrational.
It is because it is and there is no explanation to find or look for. But do not
mix it up with another side of things that has to do only with flesh, hormones
and appeal, not even desire. And that is the core of this story, a double core,
and that is a very erotic metaphor.
We have here a full and real
rewriting of Wagner’s Die Walküre. But let me give you a nice summary of that
wanders in the night as a storm rages: it is Siegmund, pursued by his enemies.
Nearly unconscious, he finds refuge at the home of Hunding and Sieglinde who
take him in for the night. Siegmund soon recognizes Sieglinde as his twin
sister and both are swept up in a forbidden passion. The next morning, however,
Siegmund must fight Hunding, the young woman’s brutal husband. The god Wotan,
father of the incestuous lovers, sends his daughter Brünnhilde into the battle:
she is supposed to favor Hunding and bring down Siegmund in the battle pitting
the two against one another – as demanded by Fricka, the guardian of the laws
of marriage. Pulled between her duty to obey her father and her attachment to
Siegmund, Brünnhilde decides at the last moment to protect the young hero, whom
Wotan is forced to bring down by his own hand. Having interfered with the god’s
will, Brünnhilde incurs a punishment equal to her blame: despite his love for
his daughter, Wotan deprives Brünnhilde of her divinity and plunges her into a
deep sleep. Then he erects a wall of flame around the virgin, which only a hero
who knows no fear will be able to surmount.” (https://www.opera-online.com/en/items/works/die-walkure-wagner-wagner-1870)
understand why I bring this story in at the very end of the novel. Of course
there is no Wotan and no Fricka, no Hunding and no Siegfried after all. And yet
Wotan is the Japanese or the Second World Wat and Fricka is Malaya or Australia, expatriation
anyway. Three generations in two families and some unfaithfulness in each one,
on each side, in a man and in a woman. A total imbroglio in the last
generation: brother and/or sister, half brother and/or half sister, related and/or
unrelated, etc. We know the truth from the very start at least if we have read the
novel properly, but it explodes for the concerned young people, a man and a
woman, like a bomb in a bunker.
also gives some insight in the colonial policy of Great
Britain in Asia, the
brutality and monstrosity of the Japanese against non-Europeans and the simple
sadism against Europeans. The end is death in the first case and slow death in
the second, hence the same. We will regret that the brutality and at times
monstrosity of colonialism, British, French or whatever, in Asia
be nicely covered up and undisclosed. Are you meaning Aborigines? Yes indeed
but not only. What about the Dalits in India,
the Tamils in India and Sri Lanka exported everywhere like so many
commodities, and we should also speak of the Dutch in the many islands of Indonesia and the Spanish in the Philippines,
etc. And of course all the European powers in China. Sowing the wind has always
been dangerous. Ask George W Bush or his father and their Operation Desert Storm (17 January 1991 – 28 February
same way the novel is rather skimpy on WW2 in England
or Europe, not to speak of WW1 which is after all
better described. But that is only the surrounding setting which is fuzzy to
concentrate on the sentimental situation which is tragicomic. It is recommended
to speak to your parents before procreating or promising marriage to anyone.
You never know. This is a piece of advice to heterosexual couples of course.
The others do not have that problem and incest is not a crime as long as it
does not bring children into the world and as long as we are dealing with
responsible adults. Apparently there is a female couple in Australia that
is sort of an escape from and solution to a love story that has turned sour due
to a long separation during the war. Five or six years are a long distance and
many people are not long distance runners.
dialogues of this novel are important in quantity and quite lively with a
little bit of northern dialect. That
makes the reading easy and quite fluid.