Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Forgotten Movies: Starting Out in the Evening


This was a terrific movie that beautifully evoked the life of a writer. Great performance by Frank Langella, too. Lauren Abrose plays the graduate student who's interested in his work.
Nuanced, interesting, persuasive. I'd give it a A-.

But the movie raises a subject I think about a lot. Passion for a novel. It's been a long time since I have passionately loved a novel. Maybe it's a function of youth--to be able to throw yourself into a book that way. The books I have loved were all read in my teens and twenties--Revolutionary Road, Look Homeward Angel, the early novels of Anne Tyler. The novels of the Canadian Margaret Lawrence, The Great Gatsby and many more. The movie actually raises this issue: a young woman prefers the writer's early works which were about his characters; an older reader liked his later work, which was about issues.
Have you read a book recently you're passionate about? Has that sort of book disappeared or is it my youth that has? Do we reach an age when passion is harder to come by?

12 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

I have to say, I've not seen this film, Patti. Still, it sounds interesting!

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Good movie.

I agree, it has been a long time since I've felt that way about a book, or maybe there are no SHOGUNs being written today?

Deb said...

I think it's simply part of growing older--you simply don't get as passionate about anything as you did in your teens/early twenties. Part of that is time commitments. When I was a teen, I had time to sit in my room and listen to the new Joni Mitchell album ten times in a row or reread GONE WITH THE WIND (as one example) multiple times or go to a movie and sit through three successive showing (back in the day when that was possible); but now I find I hardly have time to get to one movie or listen to one album. Reading remains a priority, but I hardly ever reread: so many new books waiting to be read.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I now have more time but I lack the passion, I think. I can't remember too many books I have been over the moon about. More often a movie does that for me.

George said...

I find I'm reading more non-fiction lately. We live in an era of irony, not passion. If you want passion, you have to go back to Thomas Hardy and D. H. Lawrence.

Deb said...

And, George, those are writers (particularly Lawrence) who are best read when you are young and passionate. Rereading Lawrence in middle-age (and beyond) is almost embarrassing. He is so full of passionate intensity.

Richard R. said...

What Deb said, about growing older. I was passionate about Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet, have read it twice and the first book, CLEA three times. But it's not gripping anymore, just beautiful written. Many books I read and loved in college would probably bore me today. SHOGUN may have been the last book I was passionate about, or perhaps WATERSHIP DOWN. I love novels by Chandler, Hammett, MacDonald and others, but I can't say I'm passionate about them, and as for newer books, maybe one by Louise Penny or William Kent Krueger. But thinking on it, mysteries are harder to get passionate about anyway.

It's age and environment, hormones and culture. These days I read for pleasure more than discovery or insight.

Mathew Paust said...

As you know, Patti, I'm rather fond of this topic. Your mention of Wolfe reminded me of how profoundly his work affected me back in the day. Callow as I was then, I doubt I could even get into it anymore. And maybe that's because my recollection is that his own passion seemed at an unrelenting fever pitch throughout. One of the reasons I believe Some Came Running captured me whole hog the way it did was the pacing, which allowed for some breathing and built up the French/Hirsh romance so seemingly realistically there wasn't--at least for me--that sense of constant lyricism that would wear me out today in anything by Wolfe.

I had the same sense with some of Hemingway--especially For Whom the Bell Tolls--that I did with Jones, but I've not had any urge to revisit the novels. The short stories, though, I'm finding gemlike. I never appreciated Fitzgerald until more recently, possibly because his milieu always had seemed out of my reach. Nor D.H. Lawrence. Not sure why, but it just didn't click with me. Oddly, right now I'm just finishing his very last book, Apocalypse, which was published I believe posthumously. A fascinating, almost rabid deconstruction of the Book of Revelation. I've reached the point where the mouth-foaming has receded, and he is revealing an impressive scholarly knowledge of what seems to be the entire gamut of religions from the caves to prophesizing (apologies) the disheartening, even frightening resurgence of Evangelical doomsday preaching we find at this moment. I'm thinking of reporting on Apocalypse for next week's FFB.

Mathew Paust said...

Oops, I forgot to mention Starting Out in the Evening. I've not seen it, but it sounds like something I would not want to miss.

pattinase (abbott) said...

The Nick Adams stories are my favorites.

Mathew Paust said...

Mine, too. Especially Big Two-Hearted River.

Cap'n Bob said...

I read one recently but it was non-fiction.