Saturday, November 06, 2004

Book Group - the truth about "that" incident

I have been so preoccupied with my new job and all, that I haven't given an update on how book group went last week. You my remember that we were going to be talking about Joe Cinque's Consolation. For those of you who don't know this book, it is the newest book by an Australian writer, Helen Garner. Garner is a 50 year old feminist writer with an academic mind. She was dragged over the coals by her peers and the media about her previous book, The First Stone. So there as a real air of trepidation surrounding her newest book. The book is about the true life murder of Joe Cinque by his girlfriend Anu Singh. Joe was a young engineer living with Anu, a law student at Australian National University, in Canberra (Australia's capital city). Interestingly, as Garner points out, Canberra is also the porn capital and has the cheapest and most available Heroin in the country. Canberra has a reputation of being rather boring and of being populated by government employees who don't really do much. But back to Joe Cinque.

Late one night, after a dinner party, Joe was given a cup of coffee by Anu that was laced with Rophynol. When he was out of it, she then injected him with an overdose of heroin. But he didn't die immediately. He hung on to life until lunchtime the next day when Anu finally called an ambulance. Unfortunately they weren't able to revive him and Anu Singh was charged with murder. Garners book is about the murder trials that followed. Anu's best friend, Madhavi Rao was involved in the events and was also charged.

Anu's defence was that she was mentally ill at the time and didn't know what she was doing. Whatever the truth is, Anu is presented as a manipulative person who told everyone she knew that she had a terminal disease and that she was going to drug Joe so that she could commit suicide without him trying to stop her. Somewhere along the way, she came to believe that Joe was the one who gave her the disease (by buying her a bottle of stuff that makes you vomit). The strangest part of the whole story is that the group of people who came to dinner were aware that Anu was going to kill herself and maybe take Joe with her but no one did anything. One casual friend did attempt to do something about it, but was talked out of it and made to feel like she was overreacting.

Garners' book also explores the gap between what is legally right and morally right and what the point of the legal system is. Anyway, it is a great book and we all recommend it.

The last thing we talked about at book group was the role of Madhavi (from now on to be known as Mad Harvey) Rao in the book. I was of the belief the Mad Harvey should have gone to jail for her role in the events and the Gorgeous Tall One believed that Mad Harvey was an innocent bystander. Clearly she is completely wrong. I mean, if I planned to either kill myself or murder Handsomest, I know that the Gorgeous Tall One would NOT stand there and do nothing. So how could she believe that Mad Harvey was guilty of nothing? Anyway, our discussion escalated in volume quite substantially. Enthralled as we were in our first argument, we didn't notice that the whole cafe (and the one next door) had gone silent and were watching us argue. Some of the book group aren't sure if we will be allowed back there for our next meeting.

Our next book is Marching Powder by Rusty Young, the story of the young English guy imprisioned in Bolivia for drug smuggling.

3 Comments:

Blogger Venerable (for consistency) said...

i have some issues with the factual content of this posting. firstly, anu singh was found guilty of manslaughter and not murder. it is thus potentially deflamatory to disseminate misinformation that could damage the poor girl's reputation.

furthermore, anyone who reads garner's latest book and compares the facts disclosed within the text and your posting will find conflicting information. i will concede that you did get the gist correct.

canberra is not boring. it is home to our beloved political institutions, national gallery, national library, and of course, pornography (hey, porn may have adverse social implications, but it is good for the economy).

please note, this is a retaliation for your comment on my blog *LOL*

9:33 am  
Blogger Laziest Girl said...

details, schmtails.

1:24 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how did you find out what madhavi changed her name to? i cant find any info anywhere!! pls let me know!!!! urgent!

11:02 pm  

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