Saturday, September 18, 2010

Signed, Mata Hari by Yannick Murphy

This is a fictional account of the life of Mata Hari, infamous dancer and spy.  It's written much like a diary except for suddenly switching to third person narrative here and there, which I hated.  I would have preferred the book stick to the journalized account from Mata's POV. 

Anyways, the book goes back and forth between Mata's narrative which chronicles her early years in a nunnery, her sexual abuse at the hands of a teacher, her abusive marriage, her moving to and falling in love with Indonesia,  the loss of her children either to death or divorce, and her numerous affairs.  She is telling this from a prison cell.  The third person parts tell of her prison situation, her brief interrogations as she is being accused of being agent H21,  and her living conditions in the prison cell.

Basically, after a very tumultous life, Mata Hari is being accused of spying for the Germans.  She swears she is a spy for the French and has been set up.  Which is it?  She mourns for her lost daughter, desires to marry again, and just makes one bad decision after another... but she is sentenced to death.  Will one of her many men come to her aid?  Perhaps her loyal maid will come to her rescue?  Or will she be shot to death?

I liked it despite its lack of quotation marks.  Well, I liked the journalized first person POV, but I didn't like the third person POV and those parts def needed better punctuation.  Something I truly and utterly grew tired of tho as well as the switching narrative (and thus, the three star rating):  throughout the novel Mata constantly repeats one thing and it gets OLD not even a quarter into the novel.  "I walked across the sea.. blah blah blah.. the shores of Ameland.. blah blah.. I walked across the sea.."  

This was a library book.

1 comment:

  1. I know you don't like dialogue without quotation marks so this had to be interesting and pretty well written for you to put up with that. It looks like a decent read even if not one of your all-time favorites.