Laura Gonzalez

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The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins* — 23 Jun 2015

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Reading dates: 08–23 June 2015

I really did not like this book. I picked it up because sometimes I feel the need to read what everyone else is reading. It has never been a good idea and it did not work this time. Despite the premise, which seems very enticing (and could have been good), this is a book for people who don’t like books very much. The characters, all of them, are both hateful and underdeveloped. They all sound the same, they all have similar flaws and behaviours, as if it was one character with multiple names. The setting is not developed enough either: a train to London could be a magical place but it isn’t, suburban towns have the potential to be haunting but this one is anonymous. The police, perhaps, could have added to the sense of drama, to the chase, but they lacked backbone. Nothing to redeem it. But the worse, the absolute worse, is the gender politics, the role of men and women in the book, especially in their relation to procreation. What ’50 Shades of Gray’ is to fetishism, this book is to feminism. Bland and potentially harmful. The only thing that makes it have one star over none is the portrayal of Rachel’s drunken blackouts.

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The Red Road by Denise Mina*** — 9 Jun 2015

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Reading dates: 19 May–07 June 2015

The Red Road is a very good crime novel, enjoyable because of its simplicity and its characters. The plot is straight forward, not a whodunit but a when are they going to find them out. Because of this, it is believable, which makes the reading even more satisfying. While I did not like the main detective character (Alex Morrow, I found her a little bland compared to Maureen O’Donnell from the Garnethill trilogy, whom I adored) some of the people portrayed, especially Anton Atholl, are vivid and alive. The Red Road flats don’t feature enough in terms of word count but the scene that takes place there is graphic and evocative, a very embodied experience. It is a fast read, but not a trashy one. There is something to the moral and social commentary of Denise Mina that puts her crime novels a tad above everyone else’s save, perhaps, David Peace.

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About Me

I am an artist and writer. My recent practice performance, film, dance, photography and text, and my work has been performed, exhibited and published in many venues in Europe and the US. I have spoken at numerous conferences and events, including the Museum for the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, the Medical Museum in Copenhagen, College Arts Association and the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society. When I am not following Freud, Lacan and Marx’s footsteps with my camera or creating performance works as part of my Athenaeum Research Fellowship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, I teach postgraduate students at Transart Institute.

I am currently immersed in an interdisciplinary project exploring knowledge and the body of the hysteric. In 2013, together with Child and Adolescent Mental Health practitioner Frances Davies, I co-edited the book ‘Madness, Women and the Power of Art’, to which I contributed a work authored with Eleanor Bowen. My book ‘Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces’ was published by Cambridge Scholars in 2016. In this text, investigates psychoanalytic approaches to making and understanding objects of seduction, including an examination of parallels between artistic and analytic practices, a study of Manolo Blahnik’s shoes as objects of desire, a disturbing encounter with Marcel Duchamp’s last work, and the creation of a psychoanalytically inspired Discourse of the Artefact, a framework enabling the circulation of questions and answers through a relational approach to artworks.