Tuesday, September 30, 2008
This might be the start of a little Richard Yates revival. In the spring Everyman's Library will be bringing out a lovely hardcover edition of three works - Revolutionary Road, The Easter Parade and Eleven Kinds of Loneliness. And Vintage is bringing back into print A Special Providence and Young Hearts Crying. I'll certainly be reading more of his work.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
And if you enjoyed reading Suite Française, do check out some of her other books that have recently been brought back into print: David Golder, Fire in the Blood, Le Bal, The Couriloff Affair (out this October) and All Our Worldly Goods (out this November).
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
At the end of the month, the first two books in the Martin Beck police series written by Swedish husband and wife team Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, will be published by Vintage. This series originally came out in the 1960s and early 1970s and influenced generations of subsequent crime writers, many of whom (Henning Mankell, Val McDermid, and Jo Nesbo to name a few) will be penning the introductions to these new editions. I finished the first book, Roseanna, far too late last night, but I was too mesmerized to close the pages. Roseanna is a librarian from Lincoln, Nebraska. Unfortunately, she is also the victim, killed as a tourist on a cruise ship and her body thrown into a canal. The police at first have no idea of the victim's identity and no clues. And there were over eighty passengers and crew on board, from several different countries who could be potential suspects. Where to start?
Monday, September 15, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
You can read this powerful novel while waiting for Claudel's film to hit theatres (which surely it MUST - it is SO good). Kristin Scott Thomas is Juliette, a woman who has just been released from prison after spending a fifteen year sentence for killing her six year old son. She is picked up by her much younger sister, now married with two young children of her own, and has to not only re-integrate herself into the ordinary rhythms of daily life, but deal with people's reactions to her crime, which she has never really talked about - even to her sister. It's a very moving film about guilt, secrets, trust, family relationships and, as in Claudel's novel, coming to terms with a traumatic past. This is not a movie you watch for a huge surprise revelation; there are enough early clues to suggest why Juliette killed her child. Rather, it's a complete and intimate character journey and from the very first frame to the last, Scott Thomas is riveting. Every thought, doubt and emotion Juliette is suffering, is in her eyes and body language - she had me in tears by the end. An incredible performance. There was an instant standing ovation at the end.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
There aren't too many men I'd spend two hours in the pouring rain lining up for, but Coward is definitely one of them (I'll have you know I am a proud, card-carrying member of the Noel Coward Society) Colin is just the icing. Actually, I love Kristin Scott Thomas as well, but she couldn't make it. The important thing is that the film was terrific - it stayed fairly close to the play but Elliott has had so much fun expanding the characters with great comic success - there are more gags, some clever photography shots, great music throughout, and even though he's changed the ending - boy, does it work!
There are three major defining moments in the evolution of Colin Firth as one of the, if not THE sexiest actor alive.
#3: His wet shirt scene in Pride and Prejudice.
#2: Telling Bridget Jones, "I like you very much, just the way you are."
And #1: Dancing a smoldering tango with Jessica Biel in Easy Virtue. There was an audible collective sigh from the female population in the theatre after it ended. What can I say - it was hot!
Don't miss this movie when it hits theatres. I can't wait for the DVD.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
I've just come back from seeing the world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival of the Australian adaptation of Disgrace, directed by Steve Jacobs. It's based of course on J.M. Coetzee's incredibly powerful Booker-winning novel, which I love - even though it is one of the most disturbing books I've ever read. And the film didn't disappoint. It's no easier to watch than to read it, but the film is very respectful of the novel and stays fairly close to its narrative structure. David Lurie is a university professor in Cape Town who is forced to resign after having an affair with one of his students. He goes to visit his daughter Lucy who lives alone in an isolated farmhouse where she grows vegetables and runs a kennel. Following a horrific act of violence, David is forced to re-examine not only his relationship with his daughter but also with his country and the changes since apartheid. Disgrace brutally and viscerally challenges ideas of gender and racial politics, and its possible solutions, which can appear simultaneously shocking and heartbreaking. John Malkovich plays David and is excellent at progressing from arched arrogance to broken acceptance. But it's Jessica Haines as Lucy who gives the grittiest performance. She's tough and vulnerable and utterly believable when she has to make the difficult and complicated decisions about her future. I really hope Disgrace gets wide distribution and is screened at lots of North American theatres. It's a gutsy film and while it's difficult to "enjoy", it certainly leaves you with lots to think about.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Admit it- you are snickering already just from the title and I haven't even told you what the book is about! Wilbur is a little naked mole rat who is just a little different from the others in his colony. He (gasp) likes to wear clothes, much to the horror of the other naked mole rats. They decide that something has to be done about Wilbur, so they ask the wise, heroic Grand-pah for advice. I won't spoil the ending for anyone, but as with Willems' previous books, young readers are sure to be in stitches at both the story and the characters. Parents will love the positive message about being true to yourself. Pigeon fans should take a close look at the illustrations when reading this book, as Pigeon makes a surprise appearance.
I know that it is a long wait until January, but there is always the new Elephant & Piggie book Are You Ready To Play Outside coming in October to tide Mo Willems fans over. If you haven't done so already, check out the new Elephant & Piggie Dance game on the website www.pigeonpresents.com. My favourites are the Piggie Jiggie and the Elephant Slide...