Sunday, August 16, 2009

Paperback 278: Savage Bride / Cornell Woolrich (Gold Medal 719)

Paperback 278: Gold Medal 719 (3rd ptg, 1957)

Title: Savage Bride
Author: Cornell Woolrich
Cover artist: Barye Phillips

Yours for: $20


Best things about this cover:

  • "Rowrrr! Tigress care not for clothing, or for bed sheets. Tigress eat new husband and leave only giant skull behind!"
  • "Uh, honey, when I asked you if you wanted to play a little 'stroke the totem pole,' I didn't mean that literally..."
  • This cover has all the "savage" iconography: nudity, writhing ritualistic dance, mysterious carvings, evidence of cannibalism, and miniature tribal elders with flamboyant headwear presiding over it all.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Let it be known that I wrote "writhing" re: the front cover before I read this back cover blurb. Prescience!
  • Nothing says random exotica like "an ancient tribe." "Which one? Who cares!? It's got human sacrifice and pagan altars, and that's all you need to know. Now writhe!"

Page 123~

They were fed liberally, if monotonously, on an unvarying diet of baked maize cakes [ed. "You call it corn..."], and water was given them to drink from a brackish-tasting pottery bowl.


I like Cornell Woolrich's writing. Rendezvous in Black is one of my favorite noir novels of all time. But this bit from "Savage Bride" is horrible. Liberal use of passive voice ... "they were fed [...] monotonously?" Unless you're at Medieval Times or Applebee's on your birthday, what do you expect? ... and why are they tasting the "bowl?" You're supposed to drink what's *inside*.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

8 comments:

Elaine said...

LOL. I had the same reaction to the "brackish-tasting pottery bowl."

My reaction to the front cover, though, was, "Ewwwwww." Don't they wash their sheets? Just a wee bit of slapping on the stones of the river bank and you can get rid of that dingy gray!

Alix said...

Now really, shouldn't they have discussed religion *before* the wedding? Did he not notice the monotonous corn-only dinners when they visited her parents? Will the kids be raised as pagans? This is what happens when people jump into marriage...

JamiSings said...

Alix - that's what happens when people get drunk in Vegas. One minute you're playing the slots, the next you wake up married to a Satan-worshiping Elvis impersonator with a dirty underwear fetish.

Maybe the bowls taste better then what's inside?

Eunice said...

"You're a pagan?! I just thought you were into interpretive dance or something!"

Is it just me or does she have a huge noggin'?

After she-devil, I dunno, tigress just seems kinda superfluous.

Small totem pole: Freudian slip or coincidence? You decide.

Add me to the "Tasting the bowl?" first thought group.

Dan said...

Cute comments, but this book has some interesting sub-texts beneath the pulp. I think it was Woolrich's cheap-o attempt to find a metaphor for his homosexuality and his own over-hasty marriage.

And you should se the cover on the earlier edition!

ARCHAVIST said...

Great cover - love it

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