Unlike in the case of The Tenant, Roman Polanski's source material proved to be far inferior to the film here. Even my mother who hates horror and sus...moreUnlike in the case of The Tenant, Roman Polanski's source material proved to be far inferior to the film here. Even my mother who hates horror and suspense remembers the film, and she got chills when she found out what I was reading. Oh well...
Rosemary is a bit bland and little girl-ish as a character (like Mia Farrow is in the film, but she just had enough charisma so that I wasn't bothered about it), who luckily before the ending starts to show some sort of taking control of the situation. On the other hand, the revelation concerning the baby is a big cliché and kind of ridiculous. Levin's writing style was awkward and sometimes reminded me of a movie script.
Maybe this was due to me having seen the movie, but the naivety and blindness of Rosemary started to annoy me because I already knew the Castevets' secret. The book wasn't particularly creepy even for psychological horror. Levin didn't manage to create any atmosphere, and the monotonically told daily chores mainly just made me yawn. The dream scene and the ending were a small improvement and a nice change to the flatness. It's also always nice and relaxing (yes, for me it's usually that) to read these classic horror novels, even if they don't get to the level of the famous films based on them.(less)
Damn it... Abandoning this for now. Stream of consciousness is just too much for my brain capacity at the moment. So this has got nothing to do with t...moreDamn it... Abandoning this for now. Stream of consciousness is just too much for my brain capacity at the moment. So this has got nothing to do with the quality, I just can't focus on this. Better luck next time! Hopefully soon, I really want to see the movie...(less)
**spoiler alert** I'm expecting a train wreck worthy of the Big Bang, but I seriously need to satisfy my curiosity. I mean, the thought of reading thi...more**spoiler alert** I'm expecting a train wreck worthy of the Big Bang, but I seriously need to satisfy my curiosity. I mean, the thought of reading this has been banging in the back of my brain for weeks now!
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Damn, where to begin... This was actually the first time during my entire life, that I wrote down stuff on a piece of paper while reading. Forsyth didn't make me bulge out of rage as I expected, he just more or less made me confused and annoyed. The book is still bad, though. Horrifyingly so.
Let's start with the preface, that so many users here have found downright insulting. Again, I was pretty scared when I started reading it, but didn't find it as bad as I thought. The brief recounting of Phantom's history was fairly interesting, but Forsyth's attitude towards Leroux's novel was at times a bit strange. For instance, he claims that "Leroux appears also to have made an error with the position, appearance and intelligence of Madame Giry, an error corrected in the Lloyd Webber musical". I mean, what the hell? The creation of an author can't be an error, it's just simply a creation which was meant to be like it was envisioned by the author. You can criticise it, but you cannot claim an ownership of something previously created by another person. Like Forsyth seems to be hinting, you certainly cannot claim that the product based on the original thing is the one and true only.
One thing in the preface does make sense: the suggestion that Erik's past told by the Persian in the novel is implausible. Why someone widely travelled and after being a contractor of the opera house where he would be bound to meet people, would suddenly reject all human contact and move under the opera house? I haven't read the book in ages, so I only need to presume the story of the Persian is how Forsyth tells it, which in my opinion as well is beyond comprehension. However, despite the inconsistencies in the actual story, I wouldn't go so far as to try to rebuke the whole Persian character and claim he is an utter liar in everything else as well, when clearly it might have been just a writer's mistake.
In the novel itself also, Forsyth seems to forget that Erik and the musical Phantom are two different manifestations of the same basic character. He chose to use the name Erik, yet the Erik we know from the novel is a sadistic psychopath compared to the musical Phantom, who is lonely, misunderstood and on the verge of a status of a romantic hero. You cannot mix those two and expect a coherent story, especially when Leroux didn't create a love story but a horror story. Although Forsyth claims that when you strip away the useless stuff you get an extremely romantic love story. If you're a blind illiterate and forget Leroux's intentions, then maybe.
Strangely, Forsyth also claims through Madame Giry that Bouquet was depressed and committed a suicide. We already know from the musical (which Forsyth is mainly basing his sequel on) that the Phantom hanged Bouquet, so he wasn't such a sweetheart either. Maybe the suicide was Lloyd Webber's original idea, and since he planned the sequel together with Forsyth it was never changed? Who knows, but it just seemed weird to further glorify the Phantom when he clearly made mistakes and resided in a grey villainous area.
Before I read that the Phantom landed on a desolate place full of outcasts, far from the bureaucracy of Ellis Island, I wondered why wasn't he turned back to where he came from, since in Ellis Island they were pretty strict about deformities and everything else that might have affected New York's shiny reputation. So at least that Forsyth got right. Then again, he seems to spend an awful lot of time in namedropping and describing stuff that doesn't have any relevance story-wise. In fact, if all that was stripped, only a small short story would have been left, if even that. A glaring inconsistency happened at the final confrontation, when the reporter claimed he heard what was said between Phantom and Christine. In the beginning he told us he couldn't speak a lot of French, yet the two must have been talking in French. Why would they use English, when their native language was French?
The thing that bothered me about the whole execution of the novel was exactly that: 90 percent of the story was told by someone else. In addition to the fact that the writing was clumsy and too modern, the characters didn't have distinct voices. There were even a couple of newspaper articles by some random people who didn't have a proper place in the actual story. All these different perspectives made the story seem like a real mess, and left all the characters (especially Phantom and Christine, let alone Raoul who could have been a mere footnote) paper thin and useless. I didn't recognise any personalities from either the novel or the musical, because there were no real personalities to discover. It's like Forsyth put everything hastily together during the course of one evening.
Some of the plot devices on the other hand were absolutely ridiculous, and more implausible than any that Leroux wrote. During the short amount of time that Christine spent at the lair of the Phantom, they presumably had sex. Um, right... I'm not denying there couldn't have been any feelings of affection or even love after all those years (despite the fact that the Phantom stayed invisible the entire time), but that Christine would have let him made love to her? Quite a laughable idea that she would have let things go so far, especially when considering that the character of Christine is angelic and innocent.
Anyway, Forsyth then goes even further by coming up with the idea that a child was born out of this moment of weakness, and that because de Chagny was shot in a tender place years ago and as a result couldn't conceive children (??), they knew the child was the Phantom's (he discovered this through a letter from Madame Giry). Well, in the end the poor confused child is made to choose between his birth father and the father who raised him. Quite strange, even if you didn't know that the child heard about his real father just a second ago, when Christine was shot by the Phantom's crazy sidekick. Well, what happens then? You guessed it, Pierre isn't at all scared by the Phantom's face and chooses him. I can't imagine this would happen in any real world situation.
What baffles me the most, is the participation of Andrew Lloyd Webber in this atrocity. I'm not exactly sure in what extent he was part of the writing process, but I know that a musical sequel went into planning relatively quickly after Phantom had premiered (the plans were eventually abandoned), and that apparently he had discussed with Forsyth about making a novel. That means that at any time he could have stopped Forsyth and cancel the whole novel. I have no idea what came to him that he didn't see the mess, but I only have to assume that he's either not much of a reader or that he was just too polite to say anything. What comes to Love Never Dies, the musical sequel that finally premiered in 2010 and was - gasp!- cancelled shortly after, it didn't have a memorable score and the basic idea of the ridiculous plot was retained. No offence Ramin, I still love you and forgive you for being part of it, because otherwise you wouldn't have been chosen to be the Phantom in the anniversary concert!
Wow, that became the longest review I have ever written. I just hope I never have to bump into this book ever again, even though I'm glad that I can now at least say that I read it. If some people think this is a completely plausible and well written story, I just can't take them seriously. It doesn't work as standalone novel due to the thinness of characters, let alone a sequel. I mean, if you're a Phantom fan, then by all means try it, but don't say I didn't warn you about not losing anything important by not hunting this down. Wait, there is one small plus to all this: it's short, so you can get it out of your system quickly!
PS. If you're interested in a Phantom sequel, I'd suggest you search for a fanfiction called Demons. Now, I read it years and years ago so don't hold me responsible if it turns out to be utter crap. I'm not even entirely sure about the name, but I do remember that in the Phantom community it was at that time regarded as one of the best ones.(less)
Capote's first novel could have needed a little polishing and further development, but I have to agree with Alan U. Schwartz after reading his afterwo...moreCapote's first novel could have needed a little polishing and further development, but I have to agree with Alan U. Schwartz after reading his afterword , that publishing this was a good decision. Sure, Capote might have shoved the script among the trash, but there wasn't a definite proof of his not wanting to ever putting this to daylight. Apparently, according to Schwartz he had even mentioned the novel in his later letters to friends, suggesting that publishing it wasn't entirely out of the question.
It's been a while since I've read A Breakfast at Tiffany's, and when I stumbled upon this novel I didn't think I would consider it as anything special either. Perhaps it isn't. Perhaps it would have needed something more, but it still has this certain charm to it. The kind of charm that only novels between maybe 1930s and 1960s can have. I especially enjoyed the beginning, I really felt I was there in the scorching summer heat of New York. Sometimes everything doesn't need to be perfect, the feeling you get is all that matters. I'm sensing the same thing will happen with Capote as did with Colette. At first the private life of the author may overrun the interestingness of the actual writing, but eventually he subtly makes you like that too.(less)
Clumsy and clunky writing. The effort to tie the characters into the historical background failed miserably, making the whole story disjointed and res...moreClumsy and clunky writing. The effort to tie the characters into the historical background failed miserably, making the whole story disjointed and resulting in a feeling that the characters aren't even there. The historical characters (Harry Houdini, Emma Goldman, Henry Ford, Evelyn Nesbit etc.) didn't seem to have any real relevance in the big picture, and the awkard attempt of a real story didn't take wing at any point, there were just weak beginnings of something undefined. Everything was all over the place, like the author couldn't decide what kind of approach he wanted to take to the decade. An annoying attempt to be postmodern.(less)
I would have given this just 1 star but the fact that it occasionally made me laugh and roll my eyes ("what the hell am I reading here??") was enough...moreI would have given this just 1 star but the fact that it occasionally made me laugh and roll my eyes ("what the hell am I reading here??") was enough for me to throw another one behind it. As much as I've always chuckled at the mere idea that someone manages to shock with art I don't think that something should be published just because of shock value. Whether it happened in this case, I don't know, but it inevitably crossed my mind. The junkie ramblings got old before halfway at which point I started hoping that Burroughs would have edited the whole thing a little more. Hallucinatory notes written under the influence of drugs may not always be awesome source material.(less)
One of those books that remind me why it was a good decision to just not finish books if they fail to capture my attention. Especially in a case like...moreOne of those books that remind me why it was a good decision to just not finish books if they fail to capture my attention. Especially in a case like this where the page count is more than 500. In theory this could have been a pretty good story, but in practice... Oh boy. The prose is quite good, but it just drowns under everything else so I can't enjoy it the same way I usually would. Styron tries to tackle with too many topics and themes all at once, none of which he can focus on completely, making the whole story confusing and meandering. It's like he had a bunch of good ideas and decided to stuff them all into one novel, even though he would have been better off just writing at least two different ones. So, instead of one epic ambitious novel, this consists of fragments of incomplete threads and only one vaguely interesting character, Nathan. And what's up with the horny musings of the self-absorbed narrator Stingo? Seriously, I couldn't care less!(less)
Patrick Bateman has nothing but emptiness inside of him. Not even darkness, just emptiness. The discussions of the people he hangs out with were in tu...morePatrick Bateman has nothing but emptiness inside of him. Not even darkness, just emptiness. The discussions of the people he hangs out with were in turn boring as hell, and in turn quite amusing. Bateman's hollow shell acts so charmingly, that his own secretary has fallen in love with him.
I kind of knew what to expect (seen the movie), but even in my wildest nightmares I couldn't have imagined how repulsive the violent scenes at the latter half of the book would be. No word is enough to describe them, but surprisingly I read every single line. This has been under discussion. How someone can read something like this, even though puke is very near rising in your throat? How those who like the novel justify the abundant descriptions of violence targeted especially towards women (the word 'rat' will always bring a certain scene to mind, and I know I'm not the only one)?
It's obvious this novel isn't for all. I'm extremely hesitant of recommending this to anyone. Still, I can honestly say that I liked this more than I thought I would. Ok, maybe 'like' is for the first time a word I wouldn't use. It's more like I appreciated and understood the book, but I didn't like it per se. I justify this by saying that the violence wasn't the main thing, but Ellis wants to point something out to the reader. Then what is it?
The 1980s is at the background of all of it. Especially in big cities superficiality steamrolled the weaker individuals, stimuli were needed more and more to wake up the most rich and bored from their slumber. People went on overdrive way too much, and the imagery of violence increased significantly. Bateman himself proves this by listing almost compulsively different ways of torture, bands, and clothes with the same style, but without any kind of passion. Not even murdering excites him. He boils one woman's head in a kettle, but he's just popping pills in a very calm and impassive manner, not caring about what he's doing.
From the numb style you can nevertheless spot, that only things Bateman describes in this way have real meaning to him. When the reader is horrified after realizing this, we can move on into the next question: why is Bateman the way he is? Why people are only material beings to him, who have no value? The simplest answer is that Bateman is a psychopath, but perhaps he also represents the numbing effect 80s had on people. So, Ellis himself doesn't condone violence or ask anyone to accept it, but wants to challenge the reader to interpret the reasons for it in his/her own way.
I'll admit, the execution of the basic idea could have worked with a smaller page number (I only skimmed the band descriptions), but the intent was clear. Ellis knows how to describe the emptiness of yuppies. Everyone constantly mistakes people as someone they're not, because individual personalities don't really matter. The most important thing is who can supply drugs and buy the next bottle of Cristal. And maybe who has the hottest girlfriend. Some things also pop up several times (their meaning I could only guess): food, bums, Les Miserablés musical, Patty Winters Show, and bottled waters.
On the other hand, is there light at the end of the tunnel, when Bateman is incapable of hurting people who care about him? Don't think so: "My personality is sketchy and unformed, my heartlessness goes deep and is persistent. My conscience, my pity, my hopes disappeared a long time ago (probably at Harvard) if they ever did exist.". So, why a book that has a good message (although describing abhorrent violence) and is fairly well written, should be banned, when year after year more horror movies where the violence is the main thing are appearing around the corner? I personally prefer American Psycho to Saw.(less)
Oh how I feel ashamed for not liking this as much as I thought. But let me say this first : at some level I felt related to the protagonist during the...moreOh how I feel ashamed for not liking this as much as I thought. But let me say this first : at some level I felt related to the protagonist during the New York days. Some chapters ringed so true in my mind that it was scary. The problem really was the vagueness of the writing. Although I'm a fan of huge descriptions and such I can enjoy some delicate word using, too. In this it just didn't work, don't know why. As I said, the New York part was wonderful. Also, I'm looking forward to reading Plath's diary and poem collections but didn't see the masterpiece material in The Bell Jar which left me a bit hollow and indifferent.(less)
The plot was winding and the descriptions came suddenly from nowhere like to just fill in the space. There are many authors who are better in descript...moreThe plot was winding and the descriptions came suddenly from nowhere like to just fill in the space. There are many authors who are better in descriptive writing. It should give you an image to your head but this time everything was in fragments. Not necessarily waste of time but wasn't at all impressed. I hope other works by Bellow are different.(less)
First of all, this one didn't get me hooked to the story as did the first ones. Despite that I really liked the overall tone of the book. Finding salv...moreFirst of all, this one didn't get me hooked to the story as did the first ones. Despite that I really liked the overall tone of the book. Finding salvation and truth when the Devil takes you to Heaven and Hell. I mean, it was bound to happen with Lestat. The ending made me a bit confused but that's always a good thing.(less)
Fitzgerald creates powerful images with his descriptive writing style. The plot is constructed well, especially towards the ending. Unfortunately, I d...moreFitzgerald creates powerful images with his descriptive writing style. The plot is constructed well, especially towards the ending. Unfortunately, I didn't really care about the characters. They were just there, in the pages, doing nothing and making me feel nothing.(less)