Monday, January 30, 2023

Monday, January 09, 2023

Monday, Monday

 Although I will be in CA the next three Mondays, I am going to post the days so you can share what you are doing with me and each other. I am only taking my cellphone so I won't be able to do much without a laptop.

Three good movies this week-all streaming or VOD. I liked MY DOG STUPID enough to get the book called WEST OF ROME by John Fante. ETERNAL DAUGHTER was prettty amazing and Swinton should be nominated in both acting categories. DECISION TO LEAVE was a bit hard to follow. I really don't like subtitles on a complicated movie in a foreign language on a TV screen but it was terrific despite the struggle.

THE LYING LIFE OF ADULTS on PRIME is another good adaption of Elena Ferrante's novels. The dubbed version was a relief. WILL TRENT, streaming on HULU looks to be a decent crime show. It is based on the Karen Slaughter novels. Also sampling ALASKA DAILY with Hilary Swank. Yes, she is the white savior of indigenous people but I am hoping we get beyond that. I really like the cast. 

I hardly left my apartment this week. Lots of vague but annoying sinus and throat issues.  Josh and his family took me out for dinner to celebrate turning 75. What a nice family I have.

How about you?


Friday, January 06, 2023

FFB: THE CHILL, Ross MacDonald

Reviewing this book exceedingly difficult. The plot is very complicated and stopping at a point where not too many reveals have been mentioned is nearly impossible. So I will err here on the side of telling too little rather than too much.

Archer is hired by the callow youth, Alex Kincaid, to find his new wife Dolly, who has suddenly disappeared. Archer takes the case when it is clear the police are uninterested and finds Dolly quickly, but of course complications arise. 

A man from her past has shown up at their hotel. This and the death of her college advisor, Helen Haggerty, has sent her into flight. She claims, in fact, that she's caused Helen’s death. Archer puts Dolly into a rest home with a man who has treated her in the past for similar incidents. Kincaid hangs around to keep an eye on her.

It seems that Dolly is linked to a number of mysterious deaths over a long period. The dean of the college Dolly attends also figures into the story at multiple points. He is dominated by his mother although puts up less of a fuss than you might expect.
This is very much a story about family relationships and how children can be manipulated by adults. The past has the present in a stranglehold in this book. Try as they might, the characters in THE CHILL are helpless but to follow a path they sometimes had no hand in making. Although many characters in THE CHILL only appear on the page for a minute or two, they are each given the traits to be memorable. Archer himself is the least memorable and I think Macdonald planned it thusly. 
My favorite line, and one that sums up much of the plot, is "I'm beginning to hate old women."


Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Short Story Wednesday ANARCTICA by Claire Keegan


The award-winning Antarctica, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2001, and recipient of the prestigious Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the William Trevor Prize, and the Martin Healy Award, is a haunting debut. "

After reading SMALL THINGS LIKE THESE and FOSTER, I wanted, of course, to see what Keegan's shorts were like. I have only read a couple, but I couldn't have been more surprised. The two novels concern the fate of children, the stories (so far) the desires of adults. In the first and title story, a woman decides she wants to sleep with another man before she is too old for such a dalliance. She finds him at a conference and shares an erotic evening with him followed by a very different morning. 

What is the same in both the novels and story is the sure-footedness of the writing.  Keegan never tells you things you don't need to know but lays the situation out beautifully. A discussion between the lovers that seems perhaps arbitrary in its topic turns out to mean everything by the end. 

I listened to this on Hoopla. What a wonderful resource our libraries gift us. 

Kevin Tipple

Jerry House 

Casual Debris

Monday, January 02, 2023

Monday, Monday

 Been a bit under the weather so I have nothing much to report but don't let that stop you for entertaining me.