A very interesting book to me as:
a: I have been to Medellin where the story is partially set in Colombia;
b: I have been watching the Netflix docudrama Narcos as result of a and knowing a number of really nice Colombians;
c: Thinking about the issues around the whole story of drug taking and money laundering (so many people talk about this house or that retail or food outlet being a drug laundering home in London, and they also talked about the new flats being built along the seaside as being money laundering to us in Colombia). When the traditional style in Cartagena looked much more Spanish.
There is still a culture of tremendous violence amongst drug cartels as we see almost daily in Mexico and this was commonplace in Colombia too, although it much safer and less crime ridden than it used to be.
It is also a beautiful country – great coffee too
– with marvellous orchids and butterflies and other flowers
I was then fascinated by the ‘heroine’ who is also an anti-heroine in many ways. After all, she came from a family of drug sellers and had already started money laundering for her father so it wasn’t such an extension for her to take on this role for the bigger guys.
But then I started wondering about Stockholm syndrome as she fell in love with her ‘captor’.
She seemed to thrive on a quite violent erotic love life. They claim to love each other but violence always seems to simmer under the surface and makes you wonder if this was part of their socialisation as a child or their characters or something in the psychological make-up of their relationship as master and ‘slave’.
Stockholm syndrome or capture-bonding, according to Wikipedia, is a psychological phenomenon described in 1973 in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with the captors. Joseph Carver writes about the mystery of loving your abuser, and this is certainly part of what we see here.
This psychological bond with the abuser is a survival mechanism, and 4 situations assist in the bond being formed.
The presence of a perceived threat to one’s physical or psychological survival and the belief that the abuser would carry out the threat.
The presence of a perceived small kindness from the abuser to the victim
Isolation from perspectives other than those of the abuser
The perceived inability to escape the situation
All of these 4 are present in the situation of Mariana and also included the threat to her family if she didn’t conform would have initiated the relationship.
My final thoughts on the book.
It was very well written and compulsive reading. I just had to keep on reading, and found myself empathising with characters who really were not very nice but yet had serious personal issues that made you feel for their situations.
The situation was well described and Mariana’s feelings well expressed. It was a book that needs to be read.
(ps it stands alone – Bk1 is not require to understand the storyline)