In Belinda, Anne Rice plunges us into a story of forbidden love to explore the dark recesses of passion. Like the “Story of O” shocked the sixties expressing what hitherto remained veiled, Anne Rampling (pseudonym of Anne Rice) reveals the sexual desires of our time.
Following the literary tradition of Anais Nin and Henry Miller, the author of the Vampire Chronicles is writing her most intense prose to date. These are the first two novels of Anne Rice’s erotic series, which follow the Sleeping Beauty trilogy, published under the pseudonym AN Roquelaure.
I can’t say I didn’t find the subject deeply disturbing at first. An aging children’s novelist finds a young looking girl, living on the streets, and takes her home with him to paint her. Beautiful, frail, innocent and lost, she becomes his “model” and then his lover. She says that she’s 16, barely of legal age, but I doubt that you can shake off the feeling that you are reading the ramblings and excuses of a pedofiliac. He is old, in his forties, she is very young.
She might seem experienced, a young Lolita, and many of the book’s factors remind me of the scandal that surrounded Roman Polanski.
Can a love between an artist and his muse transcend age? Social norms? Ethical boundaries?
“And a sad realization drifted through my head, something to do with how young she was, how good she looked in any light, how light didn’t make the slightest difference with her. And how old I was, and how all young people, even plain young people, had begun to look beautiful to me.”
The story gets complicated as her past begins to emerge. She is a young star, daughter of a bigger silver screen starlet (Bonnie) and a beautiful gay hairdresser (GiGi). How they got together to form a cute child – that’s a story that our artist’s friend, Alex, tells over a dinner. She grows up in the limelight, her mother adding her easily to over 22 movies, never crediting her. Her mother sounds like a manic-depressive self-absorbed typical star.
“You know, one thing I learned about actors and actresses – I mean the big stars. They can be the most ignorant people if they get caught up in it very young. Some of them are damn near illiterate. And emotionally they’re like people who have grown up in the penal system. I mean, they cannot control their emotions at all.”
Belinda is troubled and Belinda lives strongly. And what Belinda wants, she gets.
She grows up, she’s beautiful, talented, and she gets on the wrong side of her mother’s side when she sleeps with her husband when she was only 15. Precocious child. She’s over-sexualized from a young age. Not by wearing make-up or being exposed to adult situations (even though it matters), but by doing adult things. She drinks, she smokes, she hoards money.
“How do I look?”
All in all, it’s a good book. Even though slightly cringe-worthy at times, especially when the mating between them happens. I had to remind myself that the characters in the Game of Thrones were only 12 or 13 when they got married and women mature quicker than men. In the dark ages, they would have been married off as soon as they had their first monthlies.
But this.. this is not the dark ages.