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The Women of Whitechapel and Jack the Ripper…
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The Women of Whitechapel and Jack the Ripper (urspr publ 1991; utgåvan 1991)

av Paul West

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
712285,782 (3.15)11
The author of Lord Byron's Doctor, The Rat Man of Paris, and many other critically acclaimed novels, Paul West has been hailed as one of the most original talents in American fiction by The New York Times. In his most provocative novel yet, West conjures up the lives of the London prostitutes who were Jack the Ripper's victims.… (mer)
Medlem:MattHucke
Titel:The Women of Whitechapel and Jack the Ripper
Författare:Paul West
Info:Random House (1991), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 420 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
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The Women of Whitechapel and Jack the Ripper av Paul West (1991)

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Though beautifully written, the subject matter is largely squalid and depressing. West has an incredible ability to seamlessly shift the narrative from the point of view of one character to another and to wholly and convincingly inhabit each character's head; whether male or female, high or low. I found it fascinating but some may find it confusing.

This book will disappoint readers expecting a Ripper thriller. It will not disappoint readers in search of literary fiction that deals in subject matter other than coming of age stories, tales of professors and students at colleges or accounts of couples or families under stress. ( )
1 rösta slickdpdx | Oct 12, 2010 |
I was very disappointed with this book. It is historical fiction, with a psychological bent, having to do with the murders of Jack the Ripper (JTR). I am interested JTR books, and this seemed to have some depth and was not just a sensationalistic treatment.

This was also my first Paul West book, so perhaps its how he writes. The problem is that is was very slow and rather repetitive and boring. I kept looking at the page numbers hoping for it to end.

The focus of the story is an artist, Walter Sickert. He flits with respectability, but loves to wallow in the dregs of lower class London. Through his art and his slumming he meets/knows/entraps the women who are murdered.

West was obviously more interested in the question of what is art, how does making art impact the artist, and what does the artist owe to mundane life. These themes are the repetitive part and frankly Walter bored me. The book also looks at someone who gets sucked into something bad, due to satisfying an illicit itch, and how that association leads to further degradation and even participation. In for a penny, in for a pound; the road to hell is paved with good intentions - though to be clear Walter was more the type to clothe his titillation as 'good intentions'.

The book also looks at the women and the horrible lives they are trying to survive in the East End of London. The appalling condition of the poor, and the lack of opportunity for a safe decent life. The twin oppression of poverty and sexism made them invisible and unimportant, until they were sliced open, publicly. The study of the women and their context in poor London was very worthwhile.

Interestingly enough West's premise of who the Ripper was, and how and why it happened is not something West made up. It is one of the Ripper theories from the 70s, having to do with the Royal Conspiracy Theory. It seems not to be accepted as the answer but there are several others who have also championed it.

If there had been less Walter, and a good bit of cutting it would have been a much better book. ( )
  FicusFan | May 2, 2010 |
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There is a gusto in the spending of the poor;
they are very close to what they posses.
-Virginia Woolf, "Walter Sickert,"
The Captain's Death Bed and Other Essays
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The author of Lord Byron's Doctor, The Rat Man of Paris, and many other critically acclaimed novels, Paul West has been hailed as one of the most original talents in American fiction by The New York Times. In his most provocative novel yet, West conjures up the lives of the London prostitutes who were Jack the Ripper's victims.

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