Lee Anne's Reviews > Green Mansions

Green Mansions by William Henry Hudson
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Jun 18, 09

Read in June, 2009

Every once in a while, I'll find a book like this. Lorna Doone, or Tom Jones; Magnificent Obsession or The Bad Seed. Books that were once really popular, maybe turned into movies a long time ago, that have fallen out of fashion and/or out of print. Some of them are great (the latter two on that list), some are dull (the former two). Green Mansions is somewhere in between.

Abel and a pal try to overthrow the Venezuelan government and fail. They split and Abel goes into hiding in the Northern jungle. While there, he lives with some natives, who are afraid to hunt in a nearby forest, despite the abundance of game. They fear the daughter of the Didi, a mystical forest creature. Of course Abel goes into the forest and falls in love with her. Rima wears a dress made of spider webs, has iridescent hair, and can speak in a rapid bird language. Abel lives with her and Nuflo, her "grandfather," who is more native than mystical. Is she really half-Didi, or is she something more banal? Well, the book never really answers that question, and the climax is anti-climactic, as it takes place offstage. So what could have been a cool, weird little forgotten gem ended up being a frustrating disappointment. I imagine the movie is an even bigger disappointment, though, since I read that Audrey Hepburn is miscast as Rima (while she is enchanting, her charm is more brittle and of the city, not earthy forest girl) and Anthony Perkins (too neurasthenic to be a rebellious playboy) as Abel.
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