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Writing domestic violence in Marian Keyes’ This Charming Man (2008)

O'Mahony, L. and Trees, K. (2017) Writing domestic violence in Marian Keyes’ This Charming Man (2008). Text: Journal of Writing and Writing Courses (38). pp. 1-16.

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Popular fiction for women has been variously criticised and derided for a focus on romance plots and superficial themes. Marian Keyes, a prolific author of contemporary women’s popular fiction, however, utilises romance to explore serious contemporary issues. This paper examines the representation of one of these serious issues, domestic violence, in Keyes’ novel This Charming Man (2008). The novel’s multi-story plot gradually weaves together the histories and experiences of four female protagonists from their individual points of view. Each protagonist has had a romantic involvement with one ‘charming man’, the rich and powerful Irish politician Paddy de Courcy. Chapters devoted to each woman are interspersed with short vignettes that recount moments of Paddy’s violent behaviour. The narrative organisation of This Charming Man represents domestic violence in a way that prioritises healing, physically, mentally and emotionally, for the protagonists through telling their stories and sharing those stories with other characters and readers. This form of creative writing prompts reader engagement and reflection. Such readerly engagement may increase awareness of this issue and potentially lead readers to actively seek change in their own lives.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Arts
Publisher: Australian Association of Writing Programs
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