_The Thief_, gender issue

Robyn Starkey rohina at shaw.ca
Sun Mar 10 00:48:00 EST 2002

>Hurray, somebody else thought Gen was female! There was just something going
>on in the writing that sounded a little too clever, and the first thing I
>thought of was that the hero's gender was being concealed, so I went back and
>checked every step of the way until I found out whether he was really a he,
>and it was a while before one found out, as I recall (not really so very
>long, but long when one was reading at about one-quarter speed, due to
>checking for pronouns in the road).

What do you think it was? He definitely read as female for me from the 
beginning, and I was waiting for the bathing incident to be a moment of 
revelation. I guess it was partly the little bit too clever thing you 
suggest, Helen, and also the name (the Gen I know is Genevieve), and the 
long hair. I also suspect that the fact that it was a female author writing 
a first person narrator made me assume female. (Which I might not normally 
do, especially since I have been reading Jeanette Winterson in the past 
couple of weeks, and she makes such a fuss of trying to confuse the reader 
about the gender of the narrator.) But above all, I do think there is 
something essentially girly or feminine about Gen's character: the 
squeamishness about fighting, the lack of confidence about his identity, 
the constant concern about his hair... This continues in Q of A, where the 
romantic bits of Gen were a little bit too much like what girls hope their 
lovers will do (rather than how guys act) to convince me.


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