In the afterword, Ellroy claims that Josh Hartnett is "brilliant" in the film version of the novel. That should give you a clue right off . . .
For thIn the afterword, Ellroy claims that Josh Hartnett is "brilliant" in the film version of the novel. That should give you a clue right off . . .
For the rest . . . meh. It's alright. If you are interested in a fictionalized crime novel that can really draw out suspense and explore the implications of seemingly random violence, then this is not the novel for you. Try In Cold Blood....more
This series is based on such a great concept, but it just doesn't quite pan out. This is a great comic series, but not a very good graphic novel. ForThis series is based on such a great concept, but it just doesn't quite pan out. This is a great comic series, but not a very good graphic novel. For one thing, the pacing is off--the books are shorter than Moore's The Watchmen or V for Vendetta so he has a lot less room to develop the characters and (more specifically) the interactions between characters. I think this might also be due to the fact that he's using already established fictional personalities, so he has to introduce them first, and then break those personality traits down and reinvent them. So, when we first meet Mina Murray, she's no longer Mina Harker, but a divorcee. By far the best character in the series is Nemo and it is a shame that he doesn't play a larger role in the stories.
The story plots are also somewhat problematic--they are simultaneously under and overdeveloped. They just don't suit the format, and I think the books would be a lot more successful if they were longer. This series also lacks a lot of the really interesting doubling that goes on V or Watchmen. The interaction between the main plot and the pirate story in Watchmen, for example, is so delicate and yet engaging, but that kind of layering is sadly absent from League.
All that said, the series is still amazing. The images are incredible, and the stories are quite good. Just not as good as Moore's earlier work. ...more
The Dress Lodger is kind of like a diet version of The Instance of the Fingerpost, by Iain Pears. Gritty details about poverty in pre-industrial EnglaThe Dress Lodger is kind of like a diet version of The Instance of the Fingerpost, by Iain Pears. Gritty details about poverty in pre-industrial England, vividly accurate depictions of autopsies, and (of course) a terrible gender double-standard. The Dress Lodger, though, lacks about three hundred of the pages that make The Instance of the Fingerpost such a great book to take with you to a desert island. That said, Sheri Holman has written a really engrossing historical novel, even if it is a lot shorter than what the genre generally produces. This novel is packed with all those telling, small details that make good historical fiction--the phosphorescent glowing jawbone of the woman who paints sulfur onto matchsticks, the tiny malnourished girl who catches live frogs in her mouth, or the pottery residue that will harden on Gustine's skin and leave her with "a body of hairline cracks." Even in terms of the narrative voice, Holman is imaginative. If Pears divided his story among different focal characters, Holman more subtly creates a narrative voice that offers insight into multiple characters even as that narrative voice remains fixedly heterodiegetic. The reader takes on a role similar to that of the Eye (Gustine's hated caretaker), who sees all but seems at the same time outside of the events that occur.
What Holman seems especially good at is precisely those small details that make the long dead past seem both tangible and familiar. What I particularly like about The Dress Lodger is its resistance to romanticizing the past it describes, something that historical fiction tends to do. In consoling the matchstick maker early on in the novel, the narrator says, "Don't be upset, dear friend; we can't all of us be heroes. Though we met you first, we shouldn't feel compelled to follow your tiresome life. From the factory. Home. To the public house for a warm beer every third night--the whole process repeating itself ad nauseum." This is a novel that almost seems to be mocking Victorian period pieces (especially among romance novels), where so much attention is paid to the way in which heroines overcome their enormous silk dresses to find the man of their dreams. Instead, it vividly reminds us that the tantalizing blue dress on the cover (so reminiscent of BBC productions and blockbuster musicals like The King and I or My Fair Lady) is little more than an ironic symbol of the vast hordes of working-class Victorians who spent their entire short lives doing menial, often dangerous, and always thankless labor, such as painting sulfur onto matchsticks. ...more