Loved the movie, liked the book. Although they are both surprisingly faithful to each other in terms of plot, there is an emotional depth in the movie...moreLoved the movie, liked the book. Although they are both surprisingly faithful to each other in terms of plot, there is an emotional depth in the movie that was brought out by soulful acting that simply wasn't there in the characters in ink. Although the central ark of the story remains the same, the central tragedy of innocents victimized by a dystopic version of 20th century Britain of forced organ donations, the conflict friendship of Kathy H with Tommy and Ruth, the star-crossed lovers theme of Kathy and Tommy, the emotional development between Kathy and Tommy is better fleshed out in the movie by subtle glances pauses and breathes from Hailsham to the cottages. The love story was simply not as credible in the book, and the more expansive nature of a novel seemed to have been spent on making the characters as real and identifiable as possible, which in turn makes them also somewhat more bland. The book is also clearly more intellectual, it seems to purposefully pose difficult ethical and philosophical questions on things such as the nature of mortality, innocence, human dignity, and identity. I am especially struck by the parallels between the artificially induced stages of the donor's stages of life, ending in completion, and our own lives. The age old question of how we find our place in the world is also reposed through the donors, who struggle to assert their sense of self-validation against an overwhelming implicit reject of their intrinsic worth as anything beyond commodified organs by society. The exquisite sadness and eloquence of the central tragedy however, is in my opinion rendered more poetically by Mark Romanek's film.(less)
Great take on the financial crisis, through the lens of the few players in high finance that managed to call the downfall and make a fortune on it. Le...moreGreat take on the financial crisis, through the lens of the few players in high finance that managed to call the downfall and make a fortune on it. Lewis describes a motley group of investors, often outsiders in the financial industry, whose amazement at the absurdity of the subprime mortgage lending buildup lends to an illustration the massive self-deception which pushed the evolution of the crisis along. The main take away from this book was that given the right incentives and pressures in the right system, even extremely bright and often ethical individuals make consistently make the wrong decisions.(less)
I re-read this book to remind myself what was so great about Hemingway. It was a pleasure to read his simple prose unfettered by unnecessary adjective...moreI re-read this book to remind myself what was so great about Hemingway. It was a pleasure to read his simple prose unfettered by unnecessary adjectives or flourishes. His minimalist and coldly removed tone however does suggest a certain smugness which I guess goes hand in hand with that Hemingway-ian brand of machismo.
The plot, simply put is of a American volunteering in WW1 on the Italian front with the Italian army as an ambulance driver. He meets a British nurse, and they fall in love. He goes back to the front, gets into trouble during a retreat, and deserts the army. He escapes with her to Switzerland, where they spend several happy weeks before she goes into labor with his baby. The baby is stillborn and the mother dies of complications.
The plot is honestly not very compelling. Also the perspective of the book is very specific, that of the WASP American aristocracy around the turn of the century who seem infatuated with Europe as a place to become worldly and cultured. The protagonist's impossible casualness with money (there always seems to be an implied bottomless source of additional funds back home) seems very out of touch with at least my experiences. Nonetheless, Hemingway's eloquent ramblings about desire, love, war are precious enough gems that make the underlying smugness worth getting through. One passage on the protagonist daydreaming of a raunchy escapade to Milan with his beloved which is comprised of one intense run on sentence that leaves you short of breath is especially memorable.(less)