It is hard for me to believe that this book is over thirty years old. It seems I read it forever ago the first time and have read it many times since....moreIt is hard for me to believe that this book is over thirty years old. It seems I read it forever ago the first time and have read it many times since. That the 'modern' vampire fashion in literature began with this work is not in question, just interesting that it took so long to blossom.
I am not, nor ever have been, a fan of the gothic bodice ripper but this work transcends those elements. Perhaps it is Anne Rice's storytelling skill and twisted imagination that separates this from the chaff including much of the current drivel. Her later works in this series were spotty and not as reliable.
That I have been a vampire tale fan for many years is unquestioned and is rooted in film. Nosferatu really set the hook at an early age! The film version of Interview with the Vampire was a disappointment, as were the other attempt(s) at turning Rice's work into big screen epics.
Don't miss this saga stretching from old New Orleans to the mid/late 20th century of vampires and their own victim hood and tragedy.
Thirty years after I first read this, Koch's writing still evokes the same sensations and feeling it did originally. It is if I had only read it yeste...more Thirty years after I first read this, Koch's writing still evokes the same sensations and feeling it did originally. It is if I had only read it yesterday. The now long gone era of post colonialist fervor of Indonesia in the pre Suharto days of the Bung Karno (Sukarno's mad regime) is brought to life if only in the dreams of the characters and shadows of wayang kulit puppets to the sound of the gamelan music.
While the style of writing may be different than current fashion dictates, it is not dated and perhaps borders on ethereal overlaid by a first person perfect journalistic commentary.
The Year of Living Dangerously is the god-king Sukarno terminology for a stage of behavior of 'his' people to employ in their struggle with the rest of the world during 1965. Confrontation and other mad, as insane, phrases and reinvented words are bandied about in the politics of Indonesia in this moment in a revolutionary time. A small group of western journalists are on hand to watch and report the deterioration of society. The group includes an Australian half Chinese dwarf photo journalist whose intellectual fervor takes him along for the ride in to the depths of the beast of the fervor gripping the populace. The main protagonist, Guy Hamilton, another Aussie journalist becomes the victim of the many behind the scenes intrigues culminating in a final physical confrontation and punishment that foreshadowing hints at for a third or more of the book. If not morally deserving of the injury coming to him, he at the least, is another not innocent scapegoat. Contradictions abound in this world of unending darkness.
Set in the cultural and climatic density that is South Eastern Asia, The Year of Living Dangerously hints and overly rails at many virulent topics from racism, to poverty, to tyranny, to the cultural morass and depravity left from colonial times as the people afflicted choose a new social model. Blood, death, and chaos are never far behind the dancing shadow tales of a people entering into this world of Dangerous Living.
This was an added selection for the month in my bookclub group.
I've read this several times and it continues to be very entertaining. The opening cha...moreThis was an added selection for the month in my bookclub group.
I've read this several times and it continues to be very entertaining. The opening chapter is a romp through many of the 'headlines' of the book and launches the reader deeply into the world of the story.
Unexpected twists and turns are constantly appearing. The writer was wide eyed at some point in his exposure to this Southern enclave of eccentricity and misbehavior regardless of his urban sophistication and upbringing.
The movie version of this book is quite different and had to make choices about what to include and leave out in the story. A lot actually. I still am entertained by the film too, but for different reasons than the book. They, book and film, are nice complimentary works which is unusual, yet they each are different and almost separate.
There is much I could say about the story line, including remember this is non-fiction! How the author weaves the tale is as much the charm of the work as anything else. It is far more than a typical true crime straight journalistic work. It could have easily turned into another murder mystery, who did what, to whom, and when, and can we prove it? Instead the best thing I can end this admittedly all-to-brief review with is to steal a line from the wider story:
An eyeblink away from 5 stars and joining the list of my 'all-time-favorites'.
My belief is that some books are just too good a story to be easily tol...moreAn eyeblink away from 5 stars and joining the list of my 'all-time-favorites'.
My belief is that some books are just too good a story to be easily told and even a few minor flaws leaves the reader needing a bit more than was delivered. The Prestige is very close to this group.
Combing many of my favorite leisure time reading elements - Gothic/Victorian/Edwardian backdrops, English setting and storyline, the hint of science gone astray, and a few historic figures wrapped into the tale; this story delivers on the suspense level marvelously. You gentle reader, know from the opening paragraph that something is coming. Is it wicked or sordid? Malevolent or macabre? Does it matter? In the end, with this book, it does not.
A feud that will not be resolved ( ever we learn ), the desires of men mixed and confused with needs both real and invented, spread across and illustrated by the theatrical world of the stage magician, this makes a deliberately ensnaring read. The reader is inexorably drawn, cajoled, and even cheated at points to continue to carry on with absorbing the elements of the story.
Human nature in a murky form plays out over a century that has the reader in disbelief only a part of the time. Just like a good magic show. Misdirection and subterfuge are subtle tools employed by Christopher Priest to relay his story. The ending of this story of grasping for power and 'prestige' both has a haunting quality of eternal continuation that leaves the reader hanging in a final moment of uncompleted horror, but not without purpose.
My preference for a different impact in the ending is, as mentioned, the prime flaw I had with this book. I will still read it again and strongly recommend it to any one who like any or all of the elements that frame this unique story.
- - - - - - - - -
* EXTRA *
The movie that is a companion to this book is a different story. They are related thematically and in certain scenic elements. For purposes of successful translation to the screen major changes were made to the whole of the story.
The movie of The Prestige is also one of my favorites, if for different reasons. Still set in the same time, many identical elements both in mechanism and 'moral' theme, the book and film diverge.
If you read or see one, you must consume the other as a companion. They uncharacteristically complement each other as few books and film treatments ever have. And the film has a great cast and is of the highest product value.
A snapshot of a moment in the history of adult entertainment. The world has certainly changed as even in the not far distant past, this book would not...moreA snapshot of a moment in the history of adult entertainment. The world has certainly changed as even in the not far distant past, this book would not have been found on a regular bookstore shelf. It would have been with the adult magazines and other such publications.
It is not a sexually explicit book. More of meat market voyeurism, a catalog of those who work in the industry and what they bring. Not unlike a catalog from any talent agency showing potential clients the raw assets of the models and actors represented.
Graphic without purpose other than as illustration. 30 clothed and unclothed famous (mostly famous) workers in the the Adult oriented industry as of moment in time that this book was published with a few 'classic' stars.
Much of the accompanying prose written by some very gifted and lauded authors of our time is as worthwhile as anything written on the topic of the porn industry.
The two star rating is close to a three, but the book is just to stagnant to fully express the basic grit and normalcy of the topic as seemingly desired.
Interesting photographic juxtaposition of the stars but not, and admittedly intentionally, very creative.
Needs something more to fulfill the potential of an otherwise good concept.(less)