Flynn nicely plays with structure and narrators—curious now, after having read this and Gone Girl, if Sharp Objects follows the same mold—but somehowFlynn nicely plays with structure and narrators—curious now, after having read this and Gone Girl, if Sharp Objects follows the same mold—but somehow it still feels a little too tidy a mystery-thriller, like it was written in reverse. The idea of presenting these seemingly innocuous, unrelated events in the lives of the Days leading up to their fateful demise, is a powerful one, and works well for the mystery. I just wish it had flowed more naturally....more
For the first half of the book, Semple sends up Seattle with a detail and vigor that belies the semi-autobiographical nature of her story. Unlike, sayFor the first half of the book, Semple sends up Seattle with a detail and vigor that belies the semi-autobiographical nature of her story. Unlike, say, the tv show The Killing, she gets so many of these nuances of Seattle life correct that it makes the few "mistakes" that much more noticeable—specifically an overabundance of articles ("the UW" and "the Seattle Center") and a strange sense of geography (I don't care what anyone says, Madison Park is NOT closer to Lakeside than Queen Anne).
Still, I enjoyed her take on Seattle culture, and even when the story ran off into the wilderness (and a little off the rails), it maintained a quick wit and quicker pace. The latter is assisted by the novel's epistolary format and use of a teenage narrator—though admittedly one with an astounding vocabulary and sense of structure. Best of all, while reading this I rarely thought of the movie adaptation, which I'm sure will be fun to see. I just need to work out the casting in my head.
ps. It's strange that, as rarely as I read fiction, the past two novels I've read (this and Gone Girl) deal with runaway wives. Must be a trend....more
My usual problem reading fiction is that I spend the whole time trying to adapt the story into a screenplay, then cast it. I do this before I've evenMy usual problem reading fiction is that I spend the whole time trying to adapt the story into a screenplay, then cast it. I do this before I've even gotten half way through, and that's not because I'm not enjoying myself. In fact, these strange attempts to finagle the story into a medium my brain more frequently uses and better understands in fiction are usually signs of my interest in the book.
Gone Girl uses a he said/she said structure of dual narrators—both unreliable at times—making it seemingly impossible to translate to the screen. But I'm sure someone will do it, and do it well, because this is what the critics call a "ripping yarn" and I haven't had this much fun trying to decipher a mystery since I read Joshua Ferris' The Unnamed. Like that book, Gone Girl has a somewhat controversial ending, but actually I think it's a pretty bold way to conclude such a tale. It's certainly one that would test movie audiences, though I often wonder why people feel the need to change things like this.
If it were me, I'd stick to the story as Gillian wrote it, start to finish, and I'd cast Rachel McAdams as Amy Dunne. And she'd be amazing in it. Or should I say Amazing with a capital A....more
Kind of haunting, mostly sad. Mysterious and weird. Gripping. Frustrating. After this and Then We Came to the End, Ferris is now on my (very) short liKind of haunting, mostly sad. Mysterious and weird. Gripping. Frustrating. After this and Then We Came to the End, Ferris is now on my (very) short list of fiction writers to follow....more
This being my introduction to the world of Jane Austen (as twisted and mashed-up as P&P&Z may be), I have no knowledge of how much was changedThis being my introduction to the world of Jane Austen (as twisted and mashed-up as P&P&Z may be), I have no knowledge of how much was changed or interpolated to include the zombiefied backdrop. Yet being a pop culture nut, I feel like I already knew so much about Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy that nothing really was all the surprising.
Then again, surprise isn't always the mark of a good story. Language, first and foremost, is enough to carry me through most of the time, and here, Seth Grahame-Smith utilizes the King's English to great effect; never once did I feel as though I was reading anything other than a Jane Austen-like novel.
Furthermore, with Elizabeth presented as a fierce zombie hunter, I could see even more prevalently just how much a progenitor this literary icon has been for scores of strong female characters in recent decades (and centuries). Chief among them is Buffy, vampire slayer, who not only serves an extension of the Lizzy Bennett of the original Austen novel, but also a seed to this version.
In that sense, at the very least this becomes a wonderful artistic exercise, like when R.E.M. wrote a song about a movie (Man on the Moon) inspired by their song (also "Man on the Moon"). Like a Möbius strip of influence, this is a brilliant case for the evolution of individual art forms, and, in a strange way, a champion for the dissolution of copyright. It's a wonder it took someone this long to come up with the literary mash-up idea, but if it was going to take a whole decade after musical mash-ups broke through, then at least it was worth the wait.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies did a remarkable thing: it made me want to explore the original (probably in movie form), where previously I never had the desire. Sure, it took a while to get from the early chapters to the end, but once I got over that hump, I tore through the latter 2/3 of the book. I'm sure a movie version's on its way, but what I'm now really looking forward to is the next wave in this genre. ...more