Saturday, September 17, 2005

Afterwords: The End of Alice by A. M. Homes

I've finally finished reading The End of Alice. The premise of the book was meant to disturb, but the truer power of A. M. Homes was her ability to create paedophilic characters that compel you even as they send you down a scary dark place. In my sympathy (and do I dare admit to empathy?) I am accessory to their desires.

I am slightly disturbed initially, but more by the inversion of the young 19 year old girl as sexual predator, and the odd cannibalistic image of the young object of her desire, Matt, as pink flesh to be consumed. There was actual consumption later, of skin scab, fresh from a bleeding knee wound.

And the Alice of the title. The imprisoned paedophile and the 12 year old Alice murdered. All told in a concluding flashback. We are uneasy with the sexuality of children. And we confront this unease when we meet the alluring Alice through the eyes of the man who desires her.

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