Glenarvon by Caroline Lamb
My rating: 2/5 cats
this book is terrible. but it gets an extra star for its ballsiness.
you would think that something written by one of history’s most jaw-droppingly melodramatic scorned lovers would at least have a little heart to it, yeah? but this is just a muddled, “self”-aggrandizing (because it’s a novel, and not about her at all, right?? riiiiiight…) piece of rubbish. you have no idea the disappointment i felt just a couple of chapters into this, as i suffered through its turgid prose and wooden characters. byron and caro, flame and powder keg…. she was by far the most fascinating little obsessive bitch-lover of his life; mailing him her pubic hair, cross-dressing to go to him, or occasionally to rob him, ruining her own reputation as she drunkenly carried on with him right under the nose of her husband, her famous tantrums, prostrating herself and completely abandoning all dignity to rage in front of a lover who had already discarded her, but would find himself unable to quit her completely… her self-starvation and suicide attempts, her public scenes… how does this not translate into a good novel?? she just… can’t write. maybe she was too close to the material, as she portrays “herself” confusedly and simultaneously as a victim and conqueror, her lover the most overexaggeratedly sinister creature ever written, vilified past any reasonable standard of believability. written as an apology, it comes across as an attack, and she certainly had every reason to attack, but it lacks control (quelle surprise). as a historical document, it is great, as a woman writes out her grief and anger and tries to reinstate her pride in the aftermath of a hugely public and scandalous liaison; unfortunately being a little too candid about other influential society types, dissolving whatever was left of her reputation – oops! so – cool psychological study, but a real drag to read.