Re: Beryl Bainbridge: Harriet Said...
A marvelous review--complex, comprehensive, and brilliant.
As always, a few remarks:
The type of tension you describe in this book sounds riveting indeed. The concept of evil as a force not within the character--but rather, in the communities and social structures--is explosive. It's very true-to-life that these two girls would be able conduct their cruel experiments without evoking any reaction from those around them. People can be completely oblivious to that which doesn't affect them directly.
Harriet's manipulation of the narrator sounds incredible. It's always fascinating to see a devious mind at work, and it sounds like the narrator proves to be a malleable vessel for Harriet's nefarious objectives.
I haven't read Lessing's The Fifth Child, but I do have an intuitive sense of the darkness you describe as existing in this book. I think the type of evil that is tangible, that surrounds us even though we may not notice it, can easily be the most pernicious of all.
This may well be your best review to date, by the way.
Last edited by titania7; 06-Feb-2009 at 21:03.
"All men have the same defect: they wait to live, for they have not the courage of each instant.
Why not invest enough passion in each moment to make it an eternity?" ~E. M. Cioran