This is one of those rare cases where the movie is actually better than the book. I watched The Children of Men on television a couple of months ago aThis is one of those rare cases where the movie is actually better than the book. I watched The Children of Men on television a couple of months ago and since then I’ve been wanting to get hold of the book. It begins in much the same apocalyptic fashion as I was expecting it to. A fifty year old man begins penning down in his diary, not so much a chronicle of his life, but the inadequacies he has faced through the years. Theodore Faron is a college professor but he is also the cousin of the Warden of England, Xan, a benign tyrant of sorts.
This apocalyptic world, set in the future is aging and dying. No children have been born in the past twenty-five years. Women deprived of their chance at cuddling little babies have taken to taking dolls out for a stroll in a pram. There may not be any hope for this infertile race, but the Warden keeps up regular testing of males and females in case one of them turns up a viable seed.
Theodore, a man who was once an advisor to Xan, is approached by a group of dissenters, rebels who wish to seize power and make conditions in England better than they presently are. On their behalf Theo makes an appeal to Xan which falls on deaf years. Resigned to live out his years in a sense of gloom and grey, he spends a couple of months out of the country.
He returns back home and is approached by the group of rebels once again. This time the appeal for help that they make is no small matter. It is the most significant, most shattering discovery that has not been heard of for a quarter of a century and a discovery that would have Xan himself down on his knees.
What was perhaps the most disappointing part of the book is that the real story took a long time in coming. I shouldn’t have had to read half the book to feel the thrill and the action that finally takes over. This is why I preferred the movie. The absurd discovery is bared to the audience a lot sooner. Also, a lot of things seemed hanging. Like too many coincidences. Like lack of explanations.
Towards the end, neither of the feelings that the author tried so hard to create, stayed. There was no sense of relief from the unending misery nor a feeling of hope or revival of new beginnings, which I remember were two things I felt at the end of the movie. Sadly, the book failed to convey that intensity of emotion.
Had great potential to be a better book. Definitely mellow when compared to the movie....more
Mary is a dedicated child, obedient towards her parents but with secrets of her own. Her family doesn’t know that she secretly learns to read or thatMary is a dedicated child, obedient towards her parents but with secrets of her own. Her family doesn’t know that she secretly learns to read or that she possesses a pagan idol. It is with the passing of years, that the harmless seeming idol takes its toll on Mary, finally imparting its evil on to her. Beset with such devils, Mary seeks aid, first from her husband then from the priests, but all seems to be in vain. Even her penance in the wilderness on her own, doesn’t seem to be adequate in driving out the demons that torment her. She then comes across a man, one who rids her of her troubles, and one who Mary would follow till the end of her days. In life, this man, Jesus, becomes a symbol of hope, of trust, of education and in his death he becomes a symbol of faith. Mary abandons her family and joins the group of disciples who wander around the country with Jesus, preaching and healing.
Jesus has many followers and even more enemies. As his popularity increases so does the threat to his life. When he can no longer be ignored, he is captured with the help of Judas. Judas’ betrayal weighs down heavily on all, but more so on Mary who revered her rescuer and would have been lost without him. Jesus is put to death on the cross with Mary and Jesus’ mother a witness to the ugly end. Lost in prayer of her own, Mary becomes the first person to see Jesus after his resurrection. She thus becomes the Apostle of the Apostles.
Margaret George has easily made it to the list of my favorite authors. She writes with such flair, that even obscure characters of history seem to come alive before the eyes of the reader. In this book, Margaret George takes her readers on a journey to Israel into ancient times where the people are simple, their lifestyles dull compared to our times. But the story of Mary was riveting enough for me to not feel the weight of this 600+ page book. An author whose works I’m going to be awaiting eagerly. ...more
What is left behind for those who survive a horrific disaster? Already they are victims of a terrible tragedy, irrespective of whether they were insidWhat is left behind for those who survive a horrific disaster? Already they are victims of a terrible tragedy, irrespective of whether they were inside or outside the tower. Can they return to normalcy? Or will they have to resign themselves to the empty world that is left in the aftermath of the Falling Man?
I made it through this book but barely. The story set on September 11, the day of WTC attacks, and the days and years after, outlines the effects that the single day had on the lives of people who live with the burden of having survived that day.
A very promising premise but the story falls through like a dead weight. The characters are flat, the storyline fractured; in a span of two pages the author skips from one scene to another and then yet another one. At times I had to struggle to understand which characters the pronouns were referring to.
Keith is the survivor that day, having walked through the rubble and emerging from smoke and ash with a briefcase in his hand. Then follows a short fling with the woman to whom the briefcase belonged. Then there is Lianne, Keith's wife, who struggles to come to terms with the feelings that the day has instilled in her heart. Finally there is Justin, the couple's son, who scans the skies for more planes that may be coming in.
But none of these characters have any traits worth remembering. Their stories are disjointed. Perhaps that was the intention of the author; to convey chaos, confusion, dejection and despair, but such narrative never finds much favor with me and I couldn't wait to put down this book so that I could read something else, anything else.
I have read White Noise by Don DeLillo before, and I remember enjoying the post-modern take on things. But this book was a disappointment. A major disappointment.
Would I recommend it to anyone? No. There are definitely other books vying for your attention. Choose one of them instead....more