Friday, December 13, 2019
Lucy Barton, a young mother, is in the hospital after an appendectomy that left her with a stubborn infection. From her bed, she examines her past, present and future. Her childhood was an abusive one-although she doesn't despise her mother, who shows up after a many years' estrangement for a five-day visit. For much of the book, I thought her mother was some sort of apparition, and I am not sure it wouldn't have worked better had she been. Like OLIVE KITTERIDGE,(Strout's earlier book) Lucy and her mother are not always easy to understand. Lines like this one, threw me:
"Otherwise on occasion, and without warning, my mother, and usually in the presence of our father, struck us impulsively and vigorously."
An impoverished childhood leads Lucy to a life that looks successful on paper: a writer with a husband and two children. Yet this hospital stay allows another woman to steal that away from her. Yet a passivity on Lucy's part keeps the reader a bit distant from all of her travails.
On occasion, you intuit that a writer's (Strout) life experiences are so different from yours that you will never fully understand her characters. And although I love Strout's novels and her writing, I am always looking at the page through gauze. I don't mind it though. I don't expect to "get" every novel I read any longer.
Monday, December 09, 2019
I got the tree up this week, which was very difficult. I couldn't bear to open any of our boxes of ornaments (things we saved over 50 years) so I got my cleaner (friend, really) to drive me to get new ones. It's not the most interesting tree but who ever really notices more than the lights.
Saw Honey Boy, which I thought was quite good. Also A Winter's Tale, broadcast from London. I have never seen that Shakespeare play before and although it was odd, it was well done.
Went to a Christmas lunch with my book group and we blew a fuse so it was dark and some of the food was lost to us. Then I went out with friends for dinner and their car was towed away. So a strangely nice but unlucky day.
Watched The Irishman on Netflix, which was certainly good enough, but I didn't see it as the best movie of the year. I don't know what I would pick though.
Reading Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur, about a daughter who aids her mother in conducting an affair. A strange book, which reminds me at times of CONCRETE ANGEL.
I miss The Crown so have started Victoria. I have no idea if it's supposed to be good or not. I have never been fond of the monarchy but I am fond of history. Still amazed at the British series Line of Duty, which is so complicated I can barely follow it. Perhaps six episodes is too many for one crime. It leads the writers down the path of many, many twists and turns.
Speaking of following plots, my focus is still not what it was. I am hoping it will return to me and I will not lose whole parts of movies where I must start thinking of something else because I am not wholly there.
What about you?
Friday, December 06, 2019
Wow! I loved this book. I also loved Pickup but it's hard to believe it's the same author, even if many years separate the two novels. Pickup could have been written by William Kennedy. It barely feels like a crime novel-it's about down on their heels drunks, stumbling through life. It's heartbreaking, tragic.
Miami Blues could have been written yesterday by any of a bunch of current writers, except Willeford is better, making it impossible to put down. It's funny, scary and quick. Hoke Moseley is an original
After reading this in 2007, I went on to read New Hope for the Dead, Sideswipe and The Way We Die Now and enjoyed them equally. Certainly one of the more humorous crime fiction writers.
Wednesday, December 04, 2019
Barrie Summy's blog.
Monday, December 02, 2019
A lovely five days in New York, where I saw two great plays (Scotland, PA and Betrayal) got to visit with the Meyersons (thanks for getting me off on the right foot) , some other friends from Brooklyn, and Megan and lots of good meals, two okay movies. It was challenging, and there were one or two scares, but it was well worth it. And I was really lucky with the weather.
Reading OLIVE, AGAIN and NINETY GLIMPSES OF PRINCESS MARGARET. Watching THE CROWN. Love Harold Wilson, what a great actor and great historical figure. There is a great podcast on THE CROWN. And listening to Peter Morgan describing what a showrunner does, I am in awe that Megan has done this. If he is terrified waiting for the series to start, what must Megan be enduring.
And also found a fun series on you tube, "Technique Critique", where experts critique various things they find in movies: like accents, crime scene stuff, hospital scenes, etc.
What about you?