I was disappointed by the film, finding myself unable to muster sympathy for the characters, but I was intrigued by the basic plot and so ventured out...moreI was disappointed by the film, finding myself unable to muster sympathy for the characters, but I was intrigued by the basic plot and so ventured out to explore the novel. PD James' original creation follows a plot significantly different compared to that of the movie, but I found it to be no less disappointing. The main character, Theo, was perhaps even less likable, due mostly to his lack of conviction about anything during the first half of the book. I was never able to develop an intense fear of or hatred for the government against which the main characters rebelled; the "Council of England" did seem to ignore a few issues of compromised civil-rights, but for the most part presented fairly logical arguments for their pragmatic approach to governance as the human race aged into its final days. Thus, when the inevitable revelation of human pregnancy was revealed and the protagonists embarked on a quest to evade the government until the baby was born, I was unable to share their feelings of fear and despair, and I cared little when characters died. The book moved quickly, especially the second half, which allowed me to follow its absurd plotline through to its disappointing completion - the story was mostly well-written, save for moments of impending excitement that would be introduced with the sentence, "And then it happened." I commend James for her imagination; the basic premise is indeed quite intriguing. I can't say her execution held my interest, though.(less)
Play It As It Lays may have been written almost forty years ago, but it reads immediate and modern, bringing the Hollywood culture to life in all its...morePlay It As It Lays may have been written almost forty years ago, but it reads immediate and modern, bringing the Hollywood culture to life in all its nihilistic, maddening glory. The novel reads incredibly quickly, and the story does not disappoint, especially for fans of the darker side of things.(less)
The Great Gatsby is your neighbor you're best friends with until you find out he's a drug dealer. It charms you with some of the most elegant English...moreThe Great Gatsby is your neighbor you're best friends with until you find out he's a drug dealer. It charms you with some of the most elegant English prose ever published, making it difficult to discuss the novel without the urge to stammer awestruck about its beauty. It would be evidence enough to argue that F. Scott Fitzgerald was superhuman, if it wasn't for the fact that we know he also wrote This Side of Paradise.
But despite its magic, the rhetoric is just that, and it is a cruel facade. Behind the stunning glitter lies a story with all the discontent and intensity of the early Metallica albums. At its heart, The Great Gatsby throws the very nature of our desires into a harsh, shocking light. There may never be a character who so epitomizes tragically misplaced devotion as Jay Gatsby, and Daisy, his devotee, plays her part with perfect, innocent malevolence. Gatsby's competition, Tom Buchanan, stands aside watching, taunting and provoking with piercing vocal jabs and the constant boast of his enviable physique. The three jostle for position in an epic love triangle that lays waste to countless innocent victims, as well as both Eggs of Long Island. Every jab, hook, and uppercut is relayed by the instantly likable narrator Nick Carraway, seemingly the only voice of reason amongst all the chaos. But when those boats are finally borne back ceaselessly by the current, no one is left afloat. It is an ethical massacre, and Fitzgerald spares no lives; there is perhaps not a single character of any significance worthy even of a Sportsmanship Award from the Boys and Girls Club.
In a word, The Great Gatsby is about deception; Fitzgerald tints our glasses rosy with gorgeous prose and a narrator you want so much to trust, but leaves the lenses just translucent enough for us to see that Gatsby is getting the same treatment. And if Gatsby represents the truth of the American Dream, it means trouble for us all. Consider it the most pleasant insult you'll ever receive.(less)
I have also read Cat's Cradle, Breakfast of Champions, and the legendary Slaughterhouse-Five, and I believe this, Mother Night, to be the finest among...moreI have also read Cat's Cradle, Breakfast of Champions, and the legendary Slaughterhouse-Five, and I believe this, Mother Night, to be the finest among them. Mother Night couples the reliably brilliant writing style of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. with a truly fascinating story. It is a beautiful, darkly comic investigation of the warped human psyche, and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.(less)