Have had a mystery on my shelves since, oh, forever, probably picked up off someone's lawn. It's the one about the antiques-selling woman who lives in Toronto, nado nado, and I kept meaning to read it. So I started it today. Here we are with our little antique store in Yorkville and our group of local friends and our... nasty layabout tits-on-a-bull ex-husband with his new trophy wife who cuts us out of an auction lot we desperately wanted, and this is where I start using bad language. Because look. *Last* contemporary-set female-authored mystery I read had a tea set selling woman and her west-coast Washington State friends and her nasty layabout tits-on-a-bull ex-husband with his new trophy wife, not to mention her current boyfriend more interested in his Hollywood writer's career than her and her children.
Not sure why exactly this irks me, except that it seems another instance of of western reductionism. M/f in genre literature is always the same. (I suspect it's always the same in mainstream lit as well, but I don't read that stuff.) Good or bad, the relationships are always good or bad in the same way, and both leave me feeling mildly revolted. Look at us find wonderful mutually-open self-help-book style love! (Talking about your emotions with your partner in 20th century therapist's jargon is not my definition of intimacy, quite aside from the fact that it has no place in an historical novel or a fantasy set outside the 20th century.) Equally, Look at the utterly unredeemed bastard I was married to for a decade, what a toad he is! (Then why did you marry him???, one wants to ask. Unless most women are functionally insane between the ages of eighteen and thirty, which maybe they are.)
Could we have just a little depth, a hint of three dimensions, some RL ambivalence and ambiguity? No, we couldn't. The relationships must be as formulaic as the plots so frequently are. Bah.
Alas, I fancy the cure for a bad case of heteronormative reductionism is not Fruits Basket. Which is a pity, because I have six volumes of it to read. Nor Aubrey/ Maturin and ships, which is a pity because I have three volumes of that. A long weekend and nothing to beguile it, so I suppose I must go watch not!Chen Daoming in Hero, and fast forward through all the heroic and depressing m/f parts. Could someone please provide me with The Other Thing? which is probably the rest of Kohri, and no, they couldn't.