Moderators: Raj & Timmy
Attendees: Dominic, Sharad, Jiaqi, Aaron, & Alexius
We had such a fun time reading Somer’s The Gigolo Murder, we decided to read a second novel of his. We started with some complaints, recurring among our members: stereotypical, vain, self-centred protagonist (Dominic & Aaron); underwhelming ending (Sharad, Raj, & Timmy); convoluted (Timmy); homophobic and sexist (Aaron); and predictable (Alexius).
1. Homophobia: Sharad brought up that the novel depicts straight men as “real” men, and gay men as not “real” men. Gay men are being made fun of. Aaron was unhappy that protagonist tries to force Hasan into a gay stereotype. Sharad noted the use of the word, “fag.”
2. Women: Dominic mentioned that women in the novel are either subservient or laughed at if they are strong and powerful.
3. Men: treated either as sex object or useless (Aaron). Raj noted men are potentially bisexual, ie, she attracts all men but nobody can satisfy her.
4. Difference between transgender and transvestite: Doesn’t seem to differentiate them in the novel.
5. Middle class. Sharad hypothesized that protagonist’s dislike for middle class is because middle class rejects her, so she rejects them as a form of defense mechanism.
6. Family. Raj noted that Buse is accepted by her blind mother. Dominic also noted the queer family between Sureyya Eronat and blind mother.
7. Religion. Timmy argued that protagonist is a left-wing Muslim: she doesn’t want to pray so she dresses up as a woman to attend the funeral. Raj saw the act as a form rebellion.
8. Queer Sex. Sex in front of the blind mother? Dominic also brought up the pederastic relationship between Suleyman and Sureyya Eronat.
9. Asexuality of Sureyya Eronat.
10. Fat shaming.
11. Disability. Seems like the only positive portrayal of differences from the norm is the blind mother. Raj admired her for her guts to cry and that she accepts Buse. Alexius likened her to X-Men, she disappears when people want to kill her. Her blindness is her immunity.
1. Both Timmy and Raj pointed out nameless narrator is narcissistic, and bashes everyone except herself. Raj also noted she has no attachment to people and she has little backstory. Aaron felt that she possesses a “Before you judge me, I judge you first” mentality: in other words, she has a victim’s mentality. Dominic claimed that her insecurity is demonstrated when she is perpetually concerned with her masculinity. On the other hand, Sharad read her as being comfortable in both her masculine and feminine identities, like, Timmy quipped, “Hannah Montana.”
While Aaron disliked the narrator, Timmy loved her because she represents 90% of the bitchy gay population. Ouch, jaded much? Sharad also found her sympathetic because of her defense mechanism.
2. Dominic’s favorite character is the cleaner because she can put the nameless narrator down without comeuppance.
3. Aaron found the trinity of men, policeman, Huseyin, and Suleyman hot. He said that Huseyin is determined, and he perserves; he knows what he wants ,and he goes out to get it, and he gets it in the end. But everyone else, including Sharad, protested saying Huseyin is a pesky little puppy. Alexius also objected to the policeman because he can’t give no satisfaction. 10 minutes?! But Timmy said, most men last about that anyway.
4. Raj hated Buse because the novel started because of her; Timmy, Sofya because she places herself above others; Dominic, the female journalist, because she bites off more than she can chew.
In the end, we thought this novel was MRT friendly (Raj), short (Alexius), enjoyable (Timmy), and a better read than Beauty Queens (Jiaqi). Both Sharad and Dominic could identify the protagonist with friends in their lives. Aaron said he could find nothing positive about the novel, and Raj riposted, “At least there is a word ‘positive’ in that sentence.”