THE CLUB By Takis Würger
There is a type of entertainment that wants to have it both ways: to feed off its audience’s lurid interest in rape and murder and torture, but also to present itself as performing a socially important function, as if it were an earnest and necessary exposé about the unfortunate prevalence of rape and murder and torture.
The television show “Law & Order: SVU” is a good example. Its characters teem with righteous outrage and constantly pontificate and philosophize, creating a moral backdrop that lets viewers partake of the show’s gruesome subject matter without feeling dirty. Stieg Larsson employed the same formula in his novel “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” evoking the torture of women as often and as cannily as he did the sensitive male hero’s commitment to feminism.
Now, “The Club,” a German novel that has just been translated to English, attempts a similar alchemy, albeit in a more highbrow package. The debut of Takis Würger, a journalist at the newsmagazine Der Spiegel, the novel was a runaway best seller in Germany.
The book follows a lonely German teenager whose aunt finagles him a scholarship to attend Cambridge, where she teaches. There is a catch, however. He must enroll under a false name and infiltrate a secretive elite club to solve a mystery. Although she is vague about the particulars, we soon get intimations that the club’s decadent parties may involve violence against women.
The gritty subject matter is juxtaposed against a prose style we tend to associate with a different kind of novel — it reads more like a coming-of-age story than a thriller. Würger’s writing is mannered; it often has an otherworldly, fable-like quality. On the first page, we learn that a couple has moved to a house in a forest “so the wife could die in peace.” She has cancer. Instead of dying, she gets pregnant. “She gave birth,” the narrator says, “to a small, scrawny infant with delicate limbs and a full head of black hair. The man and the woman planted a cherry tree behind the house and named their son Hans. That was me.”
Würger avoids most references to contemporary life — if Hans had a television growing up, we don’t know it — and there is a Gothic quality to the series of misfortunes he heaps upon his young hero: friendlessness; the deaths of both parents within six months when he is in high school; the aunt, his sole living relative, who is so cold to him as to be sociopathic (something inadequately explained by her own struggle with depression). Before she decides to enlist him in crime-solving, she simply ignores him, sending him, after his parents’ deaths, to a Jesuit boarding school, an institution replete with “towers and crenelated walls.” He has only one pleasure: boxing. He and the school’s cook spar in the basement.
As unremarkable as this thought would be in another novel, here it is almost a thrill to be reminded that Hans shares space with students who behave in socially recognizable ways. That distinguishes them from his aunt, who, at Cambridge, offers him almost no hospitality and speaks to him mostly in riddles — prodding him to find out what depravities the moneyed members of the Pitt Club are up to without ever explaining her own motives. (Nor does she acknowledge that what she wants of Hans is kind of a big ask and that she probably ought to be a little grateful for his acquiescence.)
The other person at Cambridge who knows what Hans is up to is a posh young woman named Charlotte, a student of his aunt’s. His aunt has persuaded Charlotte to use her pedigree and connections to help Hans get accepted into the Pitt Club, but Charlotte isn’t very nice to him either. Mostly she just berates him for his social failures.
Poor, sad, put-upon Hans just can’t get a break. Of course, piling it on in this way performs a function. We readers can’t help becoming invested in the guy, to root for him. We aren’t monsters, after all. We can’t help wanting him to make friends, to get the posh young woman (of course he falls for Charlotte — of course he does), to win the big boxing match against Oxford, to be asked to join the exclusive club (never mind that we know something sinister is afoot in its ranks).
So, an underdog in a dazzling social setting and a mystery to solve — one that happens to involve attending parties full of scantily clad and strangely accommodating young women? Combine those elements with a prose style that is literary — or rather “literary” — without being difficult, and an undeniably true social message (that rape is very bad, and so are old-boy networks that perpetuate it in ritualistic form), and it seems as if “The Club” is almost ingeniously designed for success: a guilty pleasure, but one we can leave sitting out on our coffee tables without a whiff of embarrassment.
I, for one, ate it up in a day and a half. So what if it lacks any character as memorable as “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”’s Lisbeth Salander or even “Law & Order: SVU”’s Olivia Benson, or that it feels more like a series of carefully deployed literary techniques and plot devices than a novel with something real and idiosyncratic it wants to tell us? With some books, those types of complaints are beside the point.B:
2016买马开奖手机版【大】【荒】【二】【十】【三】【年】【春】【天】，【长】【老】【会】【下】【了】【一】【个】【莫】【名】【其】【妙】【的】【命】【令】。 【各】【城】【各】【部】【落】【都】【要】【挑】【出】【一】【部】【分】【族】【人】【迁】【徙】，【新】【驻】【地】【都】【很】【偏】【远】，【有】【些】【去】【南】【边】【的】【海】【岛】，【有】【些】【去】【北】【边】【的】【冰】【原】，【也】【有】【些】【要】【去】【西】【边】【的】【大】【陆】【和】【荒】【漠】。 【尽】【管】【迁】【徙】【的】【人】【家】【会】【有】【很】【多】【补】【助】，【但】【是】【这】【个】【命】【令】【依】【然】【遭】【到】【了】【很】【大】【抵】【触】，【谁】【也】【不】【愿】【意】【离】【开】【熟】【悉】【的】【家】【园】【去】【那】【些】【荒】【芜】【之】【地】。
【江】【城】【卫】【视】。 【副】【台】【长】【肖】【顶】【的】【办】【公】【室】。 【内】【容】【部】【副】【总】【监】【刘】【大】【斌】【也】【在】，【他】【一】【边】【搓】【着】【胖】【手】，【一】【边】【骂】【骂】【咧】【咧】【的】【说】【道】：“【陈】【灵】【伊】【这】【女】【人】【这】【特】【么】【的】【邪】【门】，【竟】【然】【搞】【了】【这】【么】【一】【套】【阵】【容】，【如】【此】【一】【来】，【这】【跨】【年】【晚】【会】【的】【收】【视】【率】【非】【炸】【了】【天】【不】【可】！” 【肖】【顶】【以】【及】【刘】【大】【斌】【等】【人】【自】【然】【是】【等】【着】【看】【好】【戏】【呢】，【虽】【说】【他】【们】【在】【高】【层】【会】【议】【上】【是】【非】【常】【反】【对】【陈】【灵】【伊】【的】，
【杨】【越】【辉】【闻】【言】【说】【道】:“【其】【实】【你】【想】【找】【她】【也】【没】【什】【么】，【等】【到】【我】【们】【实】【力】【足】【够】【强】【大】【就】【可】【以】【了】，【现】【在】【的】【我】【们】【是】【没】【有】【资】【格】【和】【主】【系】【统】【谈】【条】【件】【的】，【所】【以】【还】【是】【小】【心】【为】【妙】。” 【系】【统】【见】【杨】【越】【辉】【好】【像】【还】【是】【不】【相】【信】【自】【己】，【于】【是】【不】【得】【不】【又】【保】【证】【道】:“【我】【以】【后】【真】【的】【不】【会】【再】【找】【她】【了】，【这】【是】【我】【和】【她】【最】【后】【一】【次】【的】【见】【面】，【我】【已】【经】【放】【下】【了】。” 【杨】【越】【辉】【闻】【言】【笑】【道】:“
【姜】【小】【玲】【的】【笑】【容】【僵】【住】【了】，【李】【书】【凝】【怎】【么】【会】【这】【么】【想】？【她】【不】【该】【是】【羞】【涩】【难】【忍】，【然】【后】【会】【心】【动】【么】？【怎】【么】【扯】【到】【她】【身】【上】【来】【了】？ “【书】【凝】，【人】【家】【喜】【欢】【的】【是】【你】【呀】，【你】【看】【他】，【每】【次】【来】，【遇】【到】【你】，【眼】【睛】【都】【直】【了】。” 【李】【书】【凝】【却】【一】【把】【拉】【住】【了】【姜】【小】【玲】【的】【手】：“【好】【了】，【我】【知】【道】【的】，【你】【不】【用】【解】【释】【的】，【没】【有】【什】【么】【不】【好】【意】【思】【的】，【我】【可】【都】【知】【道】【了】，【那】【位】【公】【子】【还】【特】【地】2016买马开奖手机版【谈】【好】【了】【一】【些】【条】【件】【以】【后】，【周】【扛】【便】【拿】【起】【手】【机】，【将】【店】【铺】【的】【家】【具】【都】【拍】【摄】【了】【一】【些】【图】【片】。 “【你】【在】【干】【什】【么】” 【刘】【乐】【有】【些】【纳】【闷】，【他】【觉】【得】【这】【个】【时】【候】，【做】【为】【销】【售】【员】【不】【是】【应】【该】【拿】【着】【传】【单】【到】【处】【都】【发】【吗】。 “【难】【道】【又】【是】【一】【个】【来】【我】【这】【里】【混】【底】【薪】【的】” 【刘】【乐】【有】【些】【失】【望】，【他】【觉】【得】【自】【己】【是】【不】【是】【要】【去】【山】【上】【找】【那】【些】【什】【么】【算】【卦】【先】【生】【去】【看】【看】。 【最】【近】【的】【运】【气】
【东】【方】【令】【音】【眼】【神】【露】【出】【杀】【气】，【她】【背】【对】【着】【奇】【郁】，【他】【还】【不】【知】。 “【你】【问】【神】【华】【山】【做】【什】【么】？”【她】【已】【近】【冰】【冷】【的】【语】【气】。 “【姑】【娘】，【我】【是】【因】【为】【好】【奇】，【随】【便】【问】【问】。”【他】【当】【然】【不】【能】【说】【实】【话】。 “【不】【知】【道】。”【东】【方】【令】【音】【无】【意】【与】【他】【周】【旋】，【径】【直】【离】【开】【了】，【只】【留】【下】【这】【样】【一】【句】【话】。 【若】【不】【是】【因】【为】【怀】【中】【的】【紫】【季】，【她】【一】【定】【亲】【手】【把】【他】【赶】【出】【去】。【希】【望】【他】【能】【够】【尽】
【花】【溯】【屿】【突】【然】【就】【明】【白】【了】【封】【九】【龄】【要】【戴】【面】【具】【的】【原】【因】，【一】【是】【露】【出】【那】【张】【脸】【大】【概】【他】【手】【底】【下】【那】【些】【人】【会】【各】【种】【不】【服】【或】【是】【心】【神】【恍】【惚】，【二】【是】【让】【人】【知】【道】【了】【他】【和】【白】【姿】【皇】【帝】【是】【同】【一】【个】【人】，【那】【岂】【不】【是】【越】【发】【麻】【烦】。 【本】【来】【作】【为】【追】【命】【楼】【的】【楼】【主】【行】【踪】【就】【必】【须】【要】【保】【密】，【毕】【竟】【做】【刺】【杀】【的】【人】【命】【生】【意】【的】，【哪】【儿】【能】【不】【树】【立】【几】【个】【仇】【敌】？ 【妇】【人】【将】【两】【人】【带】【到】【了】【茶】【庄】【里】【面】【去】，【茶】
【看】【到】【秦】【平】【的】【反】【应】，【梵】【皇】【露】【出】【满】【意】【的】【神】【色】。【凡】【人】，【终】【究】【只】【是】【凡】【人】。【在】【神】【的】【面】【前】，【在】【神】【的】【仪】【轨】【之】【下】，【根】【本】【没】【有】【任】【何】【反】【抗】【的】【余】【地】。 【神】【要】【控】【制】【一】【个】【人】，【根】【本】【不】【需】【强】【权】。 【或】【者】【说】，【神】【的】【强】【权】，【居】【然】【是】【一】【种】【让】【人】【欣】【然】【接】【受】【的】【强】【权】。 【就】【好】【像】【此】【刻】【的】【秦】【平】，【在】【他】【心】【底】，【是】【多】【么】【排】【斥】【梵】【皇】，【如】【果】【正】【常】【情】【况】【下】，【只】【怕】【宁】【死】【也】【不】【屈】，