Pellucid: admitting maximum passage of light without diffusion or distortion

Recently read Mil Millington's Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About. Here's a link to Amazon's check out what's inside thing they do. It's worth reading, if only to see how deeply lame this guy's life is...and all because he's abdicated his masculinity to his German valkyrie girlfriend of many years (they have three kids). The theme of abdication runs deeply through the book, and is what kept me reading all the way through.

It's an English novel, and the photo of Millington on the back cover shows a big-nosed fellow with close-cropped pink most American cities (yes, even large ones) you'd slip him into the homosexual pigeonhole, but apparently, you'd be wrong. Millington, like his protagonist, has a girlfriend of many years and children by her.

As repugnant as so many of the attitudes (not just sexual, as above par. might make you think. I mean everything, work, play, commerce, pukem) in the novel were, I had no difficulty reading the entire thing through. It was sort of a morbid graduation of the fascination I have for British decay. I love so much of the poetry of Edwardian/post-Edwardian England because so many of those writers see that something has gone horribly wrong; some see what it is (Eliot), others maybe see a hint, but mostly mourn the passing of virility (Graham Greene, see esp. The Quiet American and The End of the Affair).

Not a single character in Millington's novel wants to do a good job at their job, and they're all out to benefit themselves. The protagonist (with the unlikely name of Pel) gets embroiled in a small-time bureaucratic cover-up, and his only driving interests are self-preservation, and perhaps advantage for his family (altough his girlfriend has no idea of what he's doing). Throughout the book, his girlfriend is making his life hellaciously difficult, but even this holds a lesson for us: the "perfect" couple at work ends up being shattered before our eyes (secret adultery, that only that protagonist and we smugly observe), while the bitchy couple who are our heroes stick together. There's a thorough hatred of any superiority permeating the book...perhaps I should say "superiority," at work or socially.

I did feel rewarded when I reached the end, I've got to say. This bureaucratic cover-up of Pel's ends up being discovered, and is certain to destroy the careers of some of Pel's co-conspirators. It might even destroy Pel's, but we never find out. Reporters are beseiging their house, the scandal story is being broken on TV, and the book ends.

Well, not quite. Pel's girlfriend is moved by her discovery of Pel's actual leading of the family to drop her constant haranguing (concerning which, of course, we've received many hints is just an attitude). She affirms her devotion and love to her man. And now the book ends. Pel and Ursula love each other deeply (and are in the bedroom upstairs) while reporters are pounding on their front door.

I thought the ending perfect. I wonder if Millington means to make this point: when Ursula discovers that her man is actually going out and doing stuff, or trying to do stuff, trying to lead the family, even if it is into trouble, she affirms her devotion to the family. Millington probably just wanted to tell the story of a viable post-modern family making it, but he ended up telling a story about virility.