chapter  4
24 Pages

Chloe Liked Olivia: Death, Desire, and Detection in the Female Buddy Film

IN PURSUIT of her topic-women and fiction-Virginia Woolf randomly selects Mary Carmichael’s pulp novel, Life’s Adventure, from the stacks in the British Museum. Carmichael, she suspects, is playing a trick on us, “tampering with the expected sequence.” Does her terseness mean that she is afraid of something, “being called ‘sentimental’ perhaps…?” Will she, Woolf wonders, face the situation, make the jump? As she turns the page, Woolf abruptly cautions: “Are there no men present? Do you promise me that behind that red curtain over there the figure of Sir Chartres Biron is not concealed? We are all women, you assure me?” Only then can she discover Carmichael’s illicit sentence: “Chloe liked Olivia.”2