Lust, Murder & Money in Robert N Friedland's The Second Wedding of Doctor Geneva Song, #fictionreview
Lust, Murder & Money
Robert N. Friedland's The Second Wedding of Doctor Geneva Song, erotically charges through Canadian Chinese socialscapes, leaving broken hearts, bodies and wisps of wickedness behind. Friedland's been here before, in his short story collection Faded Love, where he deftly explored the psycho-sexual relations of Caucasian men and Chinese women; its a territory Friedland knows by the back of his hand. This time the narrative twists around the inner conflicts of Dr. Geneva Song, and her Spirit Sister, Sister Deri. The names are notable for Geneva, is at first a marriage of two cultures at peace, but one eventually into darker unsettling waters. And sister is, well a sister of many definitions, adding to the Friedland's motif of duality; opposing forces that sometimes yin, and sometimes yang.
Sam Victor, a character from Friedland's Faded Love, Geneva's older detached husband, serves as passive more gentle lover to Deri and Geneva. His relationship with Deri is not unknown to Geneva, who also has lovers of her own to explore. The characters here exhibit a kind of passion that is restrained and bland in public, hiding aggression and desire behind a veneer of conservatism, but all the time fighting to come to the surface, to be outed. And Friedland explores a Google search worth of sexual scenarios, focusing on both the physical and psychological effects on the relationships that intertwine.
The people in Friedland's world are a lusty, sadistic lot, all manners of mental and sexual degradation heighten the suspense of Geneva's rape, the subsequent murder of the rapist, and the investigation that follows. The plot is well designed, but spare, serving more of a link between psycho-sexual conflicts, Friedland's strong suite.