98 - Final Harbor Question 8

1

Harry Homewood was a submarine veteran both in and before WWII. Do you think the book benefits from this? Or does he get too weighed down with technical details?

Comments

  • 1

    I think it's a bonus. The detail comes through. Something like the incident with the toilet would only have come from first-hand experience, or talking to someone with that experience. He is clearly still angry about the torpedoes, and that almost derails the book. But he reins it in and keeps the story entertaining.

  • 0

    Definitely a bonus.

  • 1

    I answered this elsewhere - it was a credit to the book, and it never got too technical for my taste.

  • 1
    edited April 7

    I know I am on the leading edge of the bell curve - there can never be too many details for me - so I needed to ask this.

  • 1

    That's the best part. I agree, I would have welcomed even more detail. Maybe 20% more of his experience and research and 20% less of his odd commentary on Navy wives.

    Though I feel like we should talk about the character who was the Polynesian wife with mystical, oracular powers.

  • 1

    @Ray_Otus said:
    That's the best part. I agree, I would have welcomed even more detail. Maybe 20% more of his experience and research and 20% less of his odd commentary on Navy wives.

    Though I feel like we should talk about the character who was the Polynesian wife with mystical, oracular powers.

    Is she a 'magic negro' you mean?

  • 1
    edited April 7

    Hmmm. Interesting. My mind didn't go there, but now it is. Or at least, I'm not familiar with the phrase, but I can certainly get the gist of it by context. And yeah, maybe there was a bit of that.

  • 1

    Isn't that basically 'orientalism' when the person from the east is always somehow mysterious? There was a bit on the news last night here about how Asian women are always portrayed as sexy teases.

  • 1

    @Apocryphal said:
    Isn't that basically 'orientalism' when the person from the east is always somehow mysterious? There was a bit on the news last night here about how Asian women are always portrayed as sexy teases.

    Well, she's Polynesian, not oriental, and she was not portrayed as a sexy tease in the book, but Mysterious? Yes. Magic Negro? Possibly.

  • 1

    The "oriental" part of "orientalism" is the least-defining element of the trope. Orientalism is about defining non-Europeans as being everything opposed to how Europeans want to see themselves. The original "Orient" was what's now known more commonly as the Middle East, so Orientalism was all about harems and genies and thieves and despots and brutality. The East-Asian Orientalist tropes are all about honour, hypersexualised women, and teeming masses of degenerate men (the "Yellow Peril"). At least, that's my understanding.

    I don't know much about "Magic Negro", but it seems to fit the same pattern of defining people by how they're other from "real" (i.e. European) people.

    In this book, there was no need to include the element of folk magic, so I think we have to conclude it was there to fetishise the Polynesians. If the author wanted some spooky folk magic, he could have gone with tarot cards, reading tea leaves, or spiritualism.

  • 0
    > @NeilNjae said:
    > The "oriental" part of "orientalism" is the least-defining element of the trope. Orientalism is about defining non-Europeans as being everything opposed to how Europeans want to see themselves. The original "Orient" was what's now known more commonly as the Middle East, so Orientalism was all about harems and genies and thieves and despots and brutality. The East-Asian Orientalist tropes are all about honour, hypersexualised women, and teeming masses of degenerate men (the "Yellow Peril"). At least, that's my understanding.

    I agree: from a European perspective "the Orient" gradually shifted geographic location, and Polynesia would definitely fit there, rather than being a land off to the west.


    >
    > I don't know much about "Magic Negro", but it seems to fit the same pattern of defining people by how they're other from "real" (i.e. European) people.

    Not a term I'd come across, though it's meaning is clear from context. It sounds a bit like the "noble savage", who is not only more honorable, but typically has some kind of super-ability like tracking or insight into the consequences of action.


    > In this book, there was no need to include the element of folk magic, so I think we have to conclude it was there to fetishise the Polynesians. If the author wanted some spooky folk magic, he could have gone with tarot cards, reading tea leaves, or spiritualism.

    Agreed - the stuff about letting what will be will be did not really need much by way of super powers!
Sign In or Register to comment.