Young Adam Is A MisogynistMay 8, 2012 No Comments
There’s not much that hasn’t been said about Alexander Trocchi’s treatment of women, real and literary.
I read Young Adam through gritted teeth as a much younger woman, and again when it became a film in 2003. The film was, in my opinion, better than the novel in the sense that it effectively contrasted human emotion and evoked an urban landscape that I recognized.
But more to the point. Trocchi is frequently remembered for his unapologetic drug use and treatment of women. He prostituted his wife, abandoned his child and his literary women are broken down and described in terms you might use to describe the contents of a butcher’s shop. The lack of emotion in Young Adam is not a literary device. Nor is it a departure from status quo, as I believe the writer intended it. It’s dull and lazy, nauseating at times. It isn’t the sort of writing that requires any particular insight or knowledge of the world. It is entirely without empathy.
I disagree with opinions that Trocchi was overlooked until several decades after his death. I’m not a fan of Trocchi’s work, so I don’t suffer from the same sense of self-betrayal I feel when reading the work of that other famous misogynist, Bukowski. Trocchi doesn’t have the same level of talent, but he does stand apart in the sheer volume of writerly cowardice.
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