September 25, 2005

a friend of the devil is a friend of mine

Posted in books, movies tagged , , , at 4:26 pm by placeinthestars

I took my niece to see Corpse Bride last night. We both liked it a lot. The story is slight but enjoyable, Elfman’s music is FANtastic, and of course I loved that Johnny Depp’s character went around going, “Victoria! Victoria!” (The best part of the not-very-good A Walk in the Clouds was Keanu Reeves running through the vineyard yelling, “Victoria! Victoria!” What? A girl can dream, right? *g*) I also liked that Emily was the agent of her own change – that she decided to stop Victor, rather than Victor or Victoria making the decision. So that was an enjoyable hour and twenty minutes.

We didn’t get the Narnia trailer but we did get GoF and damn, but Cedric is pretty. And Viktor, too. Sigh.

We also got the new Pride and Prejudice trailer, which looks pretty good. I thought Kiera and what’s his name MacFadyen had nice chemistry together, and he gives good brooding, so… It’s not Colin Firth but then who is? Colin Firth, meanwhile, was in a trailer for some really questionable looking kids movie with Emma Thompson wearing some kind of nasty prosthetics.

Earlier, I finished Anansi Boys, which I enjoyed a lot. Good review of it here by Elizabeth Hand, whose Waking the Moon rocked my world – she writes in a lush style I generally find unpalatable, but she makes it work. There are some plot-type spoilers in the review.

Anyhow, Anansi Boys. I liked it quite a bit more than American Gods, which I liked but… never quite engaged with emotionally for some reason. That wasn’t a problem this time around. But what I really, really liked about this book is that it’s about stories, and how they get told, and what they mean, and how they can change your life, which is one of my favorite kinds of stories (see my deep and abiding love for Foucault’s Pendulum and Absalom, Absalom, both books about how narrative is created and truth grows out of fiction). Anansi Boys spoilers

September 10, 2005

“Believe, Father, that you begot a man.”

Posted in books tagged , at 6:39 pm by placeinthestars

So I finished reading Mary Renault’s The Last of the Wine last night and… well, I really wanted to love it, but I’m kind of just indifferent about it.

rambling with spoilers

September 6, 2005

“it seemed to be a place of a thousand cities, or the border of heaven”

Posted in books tagged , at 1:39 pm by placeinthestars

So I finished Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin last week, and I keep meaning to talk about it, preferably when I’ve got the book to hand, but that would mean I’d just end up looking for long beautiful passages to quote at you and I’d end up rereading and never posting, and dear god, wouldn’t that be a shame? *g*

In a nutshell, I liked it. I really liked it a lot. I thought it dragged a bit toward the end (DI, you mentioned that, and I noticed it in the last section especially), but overall I really, really liked it. Loved it would not be too strong. Wanted to live in the world it painted, I believe is what I said to someone else, even though I am not a fan of winter at all (or at least not a fan of winter-after-the-holidays).

I think what moved me most was that it felt to me that Helprin loves New York City (always a way to my heart) and it shows. I normally skip long descriptive paragraphs about places, but the descriptions in this book were vibrant and engaging and beautifully written *and* they helped propel the plot. For example, the quality of light over the ice of the Lake of the Coheeries was important, not ornamental. Actually, I loved everything about the Lake of the Coheeries, I especially enjoyed Mrs. Gamely, and I loved the reaction of the Sun’s staff to Virginia that first night.

I tried to lure DD into reading this book with the promise of a horse – a really awesome, superspecial horse – and it is about him, but also about a thief, and a family, and a newspaper, and a town, and love and time and justice and (most importantly to me) New York City – a magic realist New York City that gets right to the heart of the city, I think, and why we love it so much, even when it’s at its worst.

As you can see, I really suck at coherent book reviews, and this book defies it anyway, I think. It’s well worth reading, though – beautifully written, moving, funny, intelligent, lyrical, sharp, heartfelt… Yeah, the ending is a little… flat, but the journey to get there is exhilarating. I wish I could write like Helprin, the way his words spark and flare across the pages is a thing of beauty.

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