This book is the offspring of the Brontes, Cinderella, and the work of H.C. Andersen. A good dose of Rebecca is added to the...moreCrossposted at Booklikes.
This book is the offspring of the Brontes, Cinderella, and the work of H.C. Andersen. A good dose of Rebecca is added to the mix.
It is a very gothic novel. Perfectly suited to Masterpiece.
It is a very frustrating book.
Helga is a child of mysterious circumstances and eventually finds herself married to her childhood love, Daniel, who despite his family history seems to be the brother of Heathcliff. He is a fairy tale beast who seems destined to stay a beast in nature if not in looks.
The writing style is gripping; the characters not so much. Bombal’s description of Helga’s wedding night is absolutely heart-wrenching. Yet because of Helga’s stupidity (admittedly, this aspect of her character is accounted for) and Daniel’s cruelty, one doesn’t care about their relationship while being convinced that they are perfect for each other simply because no one else will have them.
It is the atmosphere that sells this novel – not the plot or the characters. I’m not upset I read it. It is a quick read and the writing style is great, but I can’t really recommend it. (less)
Good Second Vol. Disclaimer: ARC read via Netgalley
The second volume of this series set in the Gothic and strange town of Hopeless, Maine finds an ol...moreGood Second Vol. Disclaimer: ARC read via Netgalley
The second volume of this series set in the Gothic and strange town of Hopeless, Maine finds an older Salamandra struggling to discover more about herself as well as the town. Her parents are revealed, and she discovers a missing family member.
The attraction of this series, and of this volume largely toward in episodes, is the character that simply is. Salamandra’s attraction isn’t so much her magic powers, but her human nature. Characters such as Wolverine have wonderful powers but when you think about, lack a degree of humanness. Salamandra doesn’t. She is human with power. And she is not a babe. She is a real heroine for girls and women.
The story telling in this volume is less fluid and far more episodic than the first. There is a coherent plot, and the sense of mystery and wonder is still present. The focus, or theme, of this volume seems to be discovery though lost, and the fact that magic doesn’t fix everything.
And that makes for some rather powerful storytelling.
The artwork is beautiful. Some of full page layouts would make beautiful hanging art.
If you have a child who reads comics, and who you feel reads “cheap” comics, you might want to get them interested in this.(less)
I like slow and gothic. What I don't understand in the logic of this book are the following quibbles-
1. A poet writing a play about Bryon has only a s...moreI like slow and gothic. What I don't understand in the logic of this book are the following quibbles-
1. A poet writing a play about Bryon has only a small volume of select poetry? You can find paperback versions of the complete poems.
2. An American boy who went to a very liberal school that celebrates coming out is surprised that people can be bi.
3. The sheer fact that American girls are seen to be very easyand stupid. Not surprising when looking at the viewpoint, but when tied into the fact that there is only one likable girl and all the other girls are gossips, it tends to wear thin.
However, those are my quibbles. Number 3 is also a a big turn off for me since reading the Anita Blake novels killed my tolerance for it.
I will say that Evans does a wonderful job of evoking mood. He's really good at the mood. It was the mood that got me as far as I did (around page 200).(less)
While lacking the spookiness of his other work, The Five Jars is a good M.R. James story. It concerns a man who finds a magic plant, then a magic box,...moreWhile lacking the spookiness of his other work, The Five Jars is a good M.R. James story. It concerns a man who finds a magic plant, then a magic box, and then magic jars that allow him to see the other world of fairies, gnomes, and such. The jars are desired by those who should not have them. Part of the story lies in James' use of animal discussion and part in the fact that he doesn't feel the need to explain everything.(less)
While not quite as good as her short stories, Dinesen's only novel is still good. There are many allusions, including one character who must be based...moreWhile not quite as good as her short stories, Dinesen's only novel is still good. There are many allusions, including one character who must be based on the Duke from Browning's "My Last Duchess". (less)
I have a very, very strange relationship with Mr. Charles Dickens. Before I knew anything about his private life, I would read one of his books and lo...moreI have a very, very strange relationship with Mr. Charles Dickens. Before I knew anything about his private life, I would read one of his books and love it. The next book I read, I would dislike. You know the dislike that makes you bang your head against the desk. The dislike of nails on a blackboard. For instance, I love Great Expectations, but I can't stand A Tale of Two Cities. Despite, my relationship with Dickens's longer novels, most of his short fiction, especially his ghost stories, I have always enjoyed. I still enjoy them, even though at least in terms of his private life, Dickens sounds like a bit of putz (I think that is the word I want). He thought Little Red Riding Hood was the perfect girl. (I always thought she was bit slow. It's a talking wolf. They don't talk. You should be running, you twit).
This collection includes 12 of Dickens best known ghost stories. I'm not sure that all of them all the "best". It does include "A Christmas Carol", the most famous of them all. Let's start with that one before it becomes the elephant and the gorilla lurking in the background.
"A Christmas Carol" has to be the most overdone, over reference, over used Dickens story ever. The most recent movie version of the tale called it "the greatest Christmas story ever". This confused me. Shouldn't one Christmas story, the one about Christ, be the greatest Christmas story ever? After all that's where we get the name from. :shakes head:
"A Christmas Carol", however, is a wonderful story. It has wonderful, beautiful detail. And Vicky, you're right. Dickens is hilarious. My favorite line is "Scrooge had often heard it said that Marley had no bowels, but he had never believed it until now". To be fair to Dickens, he does a wonderful job with women in the story as well. It is true that we never know the names of Bob's wife or Scrooge's niece, but they have spirited (and are just in their criticism). Additionally, who doesn't like Mrs Fezziwig? Dickens works in much about the human condition, industrial evils, and the like, but there is wonderful joy in the novel, and the teller of the story is really a wonderful character as well. A very likable character as well.
It's true that the story is overdone. How many film versions exist after all? You have the Muppets, Disney, Sim, Scott, the Lifetime adaptions (gag), Stewart, and others I am no doubt forgetting. And then there are the short stories and tv shows. What reading (or in my case rereading) the story does is remind of you two things. How good the story is and how good (or bad) some of the film versions are. The best film versions keep all the detail. Sim and Stewart stick closely to the novella, taking large chunks of dialogue. For instance, in the Patrick Stewart version Bob picks up the poker to attack the reformed Scrooge. Bob thinks, at first, Scrooge needs to be put in a padded room. Even though I have read and seen and heard the story countless times, it still reads fresh.
The rest of the stories in the volume, come from Christmas Editions or The Pickwick Papers for the most part. "The Goblins who Stole a Sexton" is a forerunner of "A Christmas Carol" and makes an interesting comparison.
Outside of "Carol" my favorite tales are "The Queer Chair", "The Baron of Grogzwig", "The Trial for Murder", and "The Signalman".
"The Queer Chair" is one of the funniest ghost stories ever written. It truly is. The narrator sounds extactly like the man from "Carol".
"The Baron of Grogzwig" is funny because it comments on marriage and suicide. It is rather interesting that it is a story that deals with suicide in a humor filled vein. The more cynical part of me wonders how much Dickens saw himself in the Baron.
Both "Trial" and "Signalman" are good tradition ghost stories. "Signalman" has at least inspired one television version (an episode of Poltergeist: The Legacy). Their inclusion brings the ghost story rightly back to the spooky and shows that Dickens could master humor and terror.(less)
Each time I read Austen’s “attack” on the gothic novel, I like it more. I don’t think it will ever reach the level of my love for Persuasion, but I en...moreEach time I read Austen’s “attack” on the gothic novel, I like it more. I don’t think it will ever reach the level of my love for Persuasion, but I enjoy the book very much. While the book is a mocking swipe at the gothic novel, it really isn’t at the young girls who read them. The heroine, Catherine Morland, is a naïve and does think that life is as it is in books; however, she is a good, kind girl who tries do the right thing and desires to think well of everyone. Austen seems to be going for the lack of education or even experience that young girls of a certain class did not have access to for a variety of reasons.(less)