So far, I am really enjoying Querelle.
There are several things that stand out to me in this first section of Querelle. The first few sentences on the opening page, struck me as…
“The notion of murder often brings to mind the notion of sea and sailors. Sea and sailors do not, at first, appear as a definite image—it is rather that “murder” starts up a feeling of waves. If one considers that seaports are the scene of frequent crimes, the association seems self-explanatory; but there are numerous stories from which we learn that the murderer was a man of the sea—either a real one, or a fake one—and if the latter is the case, the crime will be even more closely connected to the sea.”
It is such a startling statement. Furthermore, when I think of murder I don’t associate them with the sea and sailors. I think of war, school shootings, gang related crime, The Game of Clue, etc. I even think of Cindy Sherman’s self-portrait of a dead girl. I like this technique for beginning a story because readers usually have expectations and to begin with a statement seems to imply that although a reader will have his or her own ideas, this is my idea, the writer’s idea is the one that matters. From the first page, I was hooked.
“It is astonishing that turning criminals into sailors used to be regarded as a form of punishment” (8). Is this supposed to be a generalized statement towards all sailors and the irony of giving them a freedom of sorts when they ought to be behind bars or is it specific to Querelle who is able to continue on with his serial killer tendencies?
“Vic most probably wasn’t used to being murdered” (60). Although perhaps a bit forced, this statement is hilarious to me. There is a lot of dry humor in this book which makes it more entertaining to read than past books we have read. (That is not to say that they weren’t good, but this one has something that the others did not.)
On page 62, after Querelle has killed Vic (which is an interesting scene in and of itself) Querelle
seems to try and justify the crime he has just committed. “That the criminal at the instant of committing his crime believes that he’ll never be caught is a mistaken assumption. He refuses, no doubt, to see the terrible consequences of his act at all clearly, and yet he knows that the act does condemn him to death. We find the word “analysis” a little embarrassing.” The fact that the criminal is aware that he can be condemned to death seems to ease the reader’s mind. Now that I think it more, I think that Querelle and Vic can be related to Bebert and Emile. However, I do not think that Bebert is as exacting as Querelle. Bebert commits crimes of passions, while Querelle’s are more thought out. To say that the word analysis is embarrassing seems to show weakness on the part of the serial killer. For a man who has planned a crime like this he needs to appear strong as killing is a part of his identity.