Thursday, September 10, 2009

Impatience, and the Scots Romance Question

My right foot (the one attached to the broken leg) has started peeling in a very unattractive way; in fact it's pretty much a zombie foot at this point. Eckh. It has truly already been eating my brain. I am very excited to be able to have a real shower next week, in addition to all the other things I haven't been able to do since July. July! Of course, I'll have a lot to live up to once it's off, as it's been my "reason" for everything I haven't done.

I am (for some reason) still reading the Outlander series. I'm on the third one, although they are about 900 pages each. I think mainly this is because* I can't stand not knowing what happens at the end of any story**, or I just dislike not finishing what I start reading (especially when it's something ridiculously easy). I finally realized (duh) why the first two books were satisfying (from a narrative standpoint, at any rate), the second was very unsatisfying, and the third is again satisfying. More or less.

The first two really were proper "romances," in that there was the unanswered question of "Will they get/be/stay together?" (I'm not even going to consider the label "science fiction" [read in snarky tone] as some would have it, as time-travel by henge seems a lot more like "convenient magic" or "deus ex machina" to me, and there's no other element that could even be considered sci-fi.) But in the third one, hey, yeah, now they're together. Question answered. After that it was basically sort of boringly episodic and had little overall narrative drive (the brothel! the murder! the fire! the smugglers! the journey!, whatever.)

It would actually have been a more interesting book if the heroine had had to search throughout the world to be reunited with the hero, rather than their journey being together. That's just "boring married life" (my husband's words, not mine!) Their search for his kidnapped nephew seems manufactured and weak. The fourth book, however, is interesting again, because the characters are in America and there is actually an overall question of how/whether they will make it in the "New World." So the series began as a historical romance series, then lost its way entirely, and at this point turns into regular historical fiction (with a few sex scenes). Interesting trajectory.

I don't know how this whole Scots romance-novel thing got started, but apparently it's very popular these days***. TheLimey came home from the grocery store and reported (in somewhat a state of distress) that he saw an entire rack of novels featuring the standard flowing-haired, large-breasted guys, but in this case they were all flashing some thigh--from kilts. I noted that there doesn't seem to be a similar theme of exoticizing Englishmen in romance novels, however. Perhaps that's because in Western society they're still considered the "standard," thus the very antithesis of exotic (also, no kilts. Maybe Roman centurions can be the next thing...or has that been done? Probably. It's not my field.) Anyway, there are certainly no books that I have seen where the Redcoat is the hero, especially the romantic hero. Although I did see a sociological analysis regarding this question in which Redcoat romance heroes are said to occasionally pop up, but only insofar as they are rebel-sympathetic.

But anyway, my overall Just rambling, really. I guess if you're a Scottish man****, this is your year. Carpe diem!

*Other than being trapped in the house all summer, I mean.
**As you might imagine, this is maddening for someone whose life work is to hear pieces of real people's stories and then (usually) never hear from them again.
***I'm still not going to add this to my novel, however. Although this sort of thing makes me doubt myself.
****Scottish women, I'm afraid you're still on your own with this.

1 comment:

Eph Zero said...

I admit that I've always liked a laddie in a kilt. Or think, "Gee, I wish he'd wear a kilt..." if I see a guy with cute legs.