My only real issue with this book was that I wanted it to be longer. I wanted the whole story, and the book only covers "The Lost Years". Says so righMy only real issue with this book was that I wanted it to be longer. I wanted the whole story, and the book only covers "The Lost Years". Says so right in the title, but I still felt like I was cut off suddenly. The best parts of this book are the descriptions of magic. When Morgan casts the circle and calls upon the elements it reads beautifully. I believed it all the way, and the progression of her understanding and abilities, her connection with the source of power, it all rang true. It wasn't about arcane chants and rituals: "Was the magic in the gesture? Or was the gesture only supposed to focus her mind?" And what a mind Morgan has. The story isn't bogged down by the outer trappings of magic, and this made it stronger. I don't know if the author is planning a series, but I hope so. I'd like to find out what happens next in this version of the infinitely variable Morgan Le Fay/King Arthur story....more
At one point I only gave this book four stars, but I was wrong. This is one of the rare cases of movie/book where I saw the movie first, and it is a hAt one point I only gave this book four stars, but I was wrong. This is one of the rare cases of movie/book where I saw the movie first, and it is a hell of a movie. It's in my all time top ten easy, not just a great horror film, but a fantastic piece of filmmaking on every level. There are some themes hinted at in the novel that the film brings out a little more, and I like that about the movie. My mistake was using that as a criticism of the novel when in fact, the novel has more than enough going on, and a hint of each thing is enough. I had a teacher in high school who emphasized the difference between reading Shakespeare and producing a Shakespeare play. The gist of the argument was that there is so much going on in any Shakespeare play, that a talented director needs to choose one primary theme to focus on and drive home. There's a similar dynamic in Robert Wise's brilliant adaptation of this novel, and I highly recommend both novel and film.
But the book, man this book. Shirley Jackson crafted some of the best sentences of the 20th century. Spare, deadly, perfect, and damn can that woman work a semicolon -
"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone."
I mean, who else has ever been able to make the idea of firm, well-fitted construction materials so damn creepy?
I'm thrilled that all her work has recently been reprinted and released in ebook form, because I spent way too long trying to find an affordable copy of The Sundial once. That so much of her work was out of print for a while is a tragedy, but luckily for us, one that has been righted. I hope this means that Shirley Jackson will eventually be awarded the position in literary history that she truly deserves - right up there at the top.
To paraphrase Hitchcock: Movies are life with all the boring parts cut out. This book is all about the boring parts, but that's ok. The boring parts,To paraphrase Hitchcock: Movies are life with all the boring parts cut out. This book is all about the boring parts, but that's ok. The boring parts, where we hang out with our friends, muse on sexuality and the world we live in and ruminate on the behavior of the creatures of that world, comprise the bulk of A Dance to the Music of Time. This is, I assure you, not a boring book. It is subtle and beautifully written, insightful and relevant. I wasn't sure if I would be able to relate to a bunch of posh brits from between the wars, but I found Jenkins' voice accessible, intelligent, and yes, relatable. This is a classic for a reason, and I plan to read the rest of the movements soon....more
I want to give it 4 stars, because I love Pat Highsmith, and parts of it were, as always beautifully written. Maybe it's because it's the only thing II want to give it 4 stars, because I love Pat Highsmith, and parts of it were, as always beautifully written. Maybe it's because it's the only thing I've read of hers that didn't involve murder? Or much of a plot at all, really. It had some interesting elements, but I didn't love it....more