Monday, 12 March 2012

The Injured Party

Title: The Injured Party

Author: Elaine Dundy

Year of publication: 1974, Quartet edition 1976

   Rita's parents are snobs who don't want to know her.  Her best friend is gay, arrogant and mischevious.  Her husband is a smarmy, two-dimensional sadist.  Or was, until she killed him.
   And Rita?  She's naive, impetuous, well-meaning, fun-loving and good-looking: qualities which land her in big trouble every time - at work, at parties, in bed and in jail.
   That's where she is now, a women's reformatory where she's in bigger trouble than ever.  First there was the affair with the muscular lady dressed like a lumberjack, then with the schizophrenic junkie, and now she's flirting with the warden himself...'

Quick flick reveals: Elaine Dundy was the author of The Dud Avocado, a bestseller inspired by her time living in post-war Paris, and which is now considered something of a classic.  She was also the wife of Kenneth Tynan.  Wikipedia happily informs me of the role 'flagellation' played in their relationship (See below).
   The Injured Party is her third and last novel.  Seems to be a comic story set in that most hilarious of locations, a women's prison. I couldn't spot any actual jokes, however, and just a brief look at it took me to a dark chamber of the soul.

Random paragraph: '"Why don't you stop fooling around with words like 'icing' and face it that the only way you can get any pleasure from sex with me is to administer pain upon me; to see me being tortured; and to stare at the marks you made on me by my being tortured."'


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