Dancing in the Dark Paperback
by Joan Barfoot
Edna is a perfect wife, a secret dreamer, and a murderer.
Keeping her house scrupulously clean takes up almost all of her time, but when she closes her eyes, a whole new Edna comes into play.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 192 pages
- Publisher: The Women's Press Ltd
- Publication Date: 01/11/2000
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780704346741
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by jayne_charles
This book suffered, from my point of view at least, from the fact that I read it immediately after one of the best books I have ever read, and the effect was like switching the television over from an action packed comedy film to a documentary on existentialism.It was faultlessly written, though, and the sort of book that would reveal more hidden meaning on each subsequent reading. It concerned Edna, a dedicated housewife who murdered her husband after he had an affair (no spoilers here, it's all on the back cover), and clearly the book's task would be to illustrate how this came to be, given that many men have affairs but their wives do not become murderers as a result.What emerged was a picture of obsessive housekeeping, limited ambition, and the idea of marriage as a very formal contract where the keeping of an immaculate house brings very specific guarantees. I note the author is a known feminist writer and assume that there is a feminist agenda at work here. Fair enough, but in my experience it isn't men who insist on houses being immaculate all the time, it is women themselves: they do it because their friends will bitch about them if they don't, and because their mothers have brought them up to be obsessively clean. Anyone who has ever watched Wife Swap on TV will know that the easiest way for a wife to land a low blow on her counterpart at the table meeting is to say her house is filthy. They do it every week.So overall it was a good, cerebral read, not a page turner, but thought-provoking even if I wasn't totally convinced by the message.
Review by oldblack
Not Barfoot's best work, I think, but quite a good read nonetheless.An interesting analysis of what makes an apparently 'normal' woman perform a highly 'abnormal' act. The problem I found was that this reader was still left asking "but why?" Sure, an explanation is given in terms of the woman's background and the nature of her marriage relationship, but I wasn't convinced enough.