I've developed very special, very unique relationships with some of my favourite authors.
Jane Austen is my very smart, very emotionally-savvy girlfrie...moreI've developed very special, very unique relationships with some of my favourite authors.
Jane Austen is my very smart, very emotionally-savvy girlfriend. She gives really good relationship advice. Salman Rushdie is the intellectual type I like taking to tea shops. He's suave, funny, and sophisticated--and his politics astound me all the time. Timothy Findley is my token gay best friend. He's really got a flair for history and theatre. I've got a great group of friends.
However, my relationship with Stephen King is a little more complex. We were really close when I was younger, but we've drifted apart. I'll still hang with him some times, for the sake of the good ol'days. He tells me the same old jokes, the same old stories. I'll plough through it with the enthusiasm of a wooden plank.
I don't think the problem is with him. He's a popular guy. People still enjoy flipping through the pages of Stephen King books. The problem is that I've outgrown him. When I was younger, the pinnacle of story-telling was Carrie going on a murderous rampage at her prom, or Peter trying to escape Flagg's prison. Not anymore.
Full Dark No Stars shows us a traditional look at Stephen King. He writes about revenge, mariticide, sex-- he's even got a touch of the supernatural in here. The thirteen or fourteen-year old me would have been enthralled with this book, but I was just bored. I skimmed through 1922."Big Driver" was a rehash of the rape and revenge theme (in my opinion, I Spit on Your Grave and The Last House on the Left have already done it better).
The only story that showed any promise for me was "Fair Extension". In this one, a terminally ill man, David Streeter, bargains with the devil.In exchange for a clean bill of health, David bestows a life of misfortune to his best friend. This could have been a great story, however, the narrative style read more like a timeline instead of an actual story. "In 1998, David did this...In 2000 this is what happend in the world, and this is what was happening to David". Stephen King has done the faustian thing in "Needful Things." Fair Extension was just a cheap regurgitation of it. (less)
Whenever I read Jane Austen, I have to overcome the sudden urge to start speaking in an upper-class English accent. And why not? Even with the hardshi...moreWhenever I read Jane Austen, I have to overcome the sudden urge to start speaking in an upper-class English accent. And why not? Even with the hardships portrayed in Austen's novels, she has the ability to keep the mood humorous and light. Wouldn't life be better if it were narrated in an Austentanian English accent? I think so.
I've debated much with myself about the rating I would give this book. Make no mistake, I absolutely, positively, with all my being, loved this book. I would have given it a 5 had I not remembered how much I loved Pride and Prejudice. Austen just has the talent of making guys-that-seem-like-jerks so damn endearing. Even though I thought Edward Ferrars was a lying, cheating prat, I was in love with him by the end of the novel.
Austen creates a great contrast between the two Dashwood sisters; Elinor, the practical, logical sister; and Marianne, the impulsive romantic. I think that the contrast between the two women is what has given this story its universal appeal. We can all relate to the duality of Emma and Marianne's characters. Like Elinor, we try to keep our poker faces on, especially when dealing with douchebags like Edward Ferrars. Even in this modern age, society looks down, (or at least makes fun of) people that follow impulsive, passsionate urges. Yet like Marianne, we have to fight hard to supress these instincts. What I love about Austen is how she shows the flaws of being too logical or too romantic. The sisters were only able to find peace within themselves when they learn how to balance sense and sensibility. Interesting tidbit: Austen had once said that the character she most identifies with, out of her whole body of work, was.... drumroll please... Marianne Dashwood. After reading a biography about Austen,it was apparent why. She had been offered a marriage of convenience, accepted it, and later declined the offer. She would rather marry for love than financial convenience.
The rest of the story line is pretty typical for a rom-com :girl falls in love with guy, guy ends up being jerk and makes girl cry, jerk ends up not being jerk after all. The good girls go home with their men, while the bad girls go home punished. But not harshly, this is Austen land after all. However typical the story line, the characters and the dialogue keep the read light, easy, and fresh.