Sunday, March 3, 2019

Review: Insatiable - A Macabre History of France by Ginger Myrick

My first meeting with Marie-Antoinette was at age eight upon reading Alexandre Dumas' excellent Le Chevalier de Maison Rouge.

While I felt sorry for the sad lady in the prison du Temple, I wondered at length why anyone would grow so in love with her to the point of staging the intricate Carnation Plot and endangering the lives of many to rescue her.

From then on, I read many books about Marie-Antoinette, and while each time I grew more sensitive to her plight and more unsettled at her terrible fate, I still could not understand the romantic infatuation with the Queen.

Well, Insatiable changed my feelings. I absolutely loved Ginger Myrick's characterisation of Marie-Antoinette. This book is in essence a biography of her life set in a horror paradigm. I loved it.

Everything about this novel was not only painstakingly researched and fascinating, but the prose was also immensely enjoyable. 

The macabre aspects were stylish and suspenseful. (The key and secret passage escape scene had me on the edge of my seat - so to speak!) In short, I loved the author's deft merging of the horror and historical genre. The paradigm was well staged with great attention to detail which rendered it quite plausible.

Yet the true strength of this book's horror dimension is not that it plays an added entertaining role, but rather that it achieves an unsettling social commentary in an almost satirical manner. As the novel progressed into the well-known reign of Terror, the story's supernatural horror elements became overshadowed by the horrors of reality. It was reality, not fiction, that gutted me. And here lies the social commentary - during certain historical events, we witness human horror on such unprecedented scale that one might wonder whether these might as well have resulted from macabre supernatural forces.

Truth is stranger than fiction.

This is one of my favourite novels about the french revolution.

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