Sunday, 20 November 2011

Notes on Books & Films

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes.  The professional reviewers of this Booker prizewinning novella all admire it, and consider it a novel about flawed memories of the distant past.  Yet the narrator Tony remembers with clarity all kinds of emotions about his repressed early 1960s youth when life was full of hope, frustrated sex and worries about class.  This is all brilliantly described and I loved the middle part of this novel. But his memory turns out to be selective, and he's half forgotten a horrible letter he wrote.

Many lay readers, myself included, found the ending puzzling and possibly unsatisfactory. We read on in the hope of finding out why Adrian killed himself, but this is never convincingly explained.  Two boys apparently commit suicide for a reason that seems unlikely. Depression is never mentioned. Perhaps many suicides are inexplicable, but surely they cannot be reduced to a mathematical equation?

Perhaps that isn't the point of the book.  Better read it for yourself and see.

Other books worth reading:  Rachel Hore's A Gathering Storm. Here's a review from the Independent.
Donna Tartt's  The Secret History.  It's especially creepy in that the reader can find herself almost complicit in a murder.  Like Barnes's narrator, Richard feels socially out of his depths.
And do read Marian Keyes' Rachel's Holiday, if you missed it. Funny, sad, moving.

Film: absolutely loved Midnight in Paris, directed by Woody Allen. Scenic, funny and a happy way to pass the time.  Here's a Guardian review.

The dvd of 172 Hours was gripping. A hiker falls down an isolated canyon in Utah and his arm is stuck under a boulder. Based on a true story and very well acted, it's a film worth watching.


Debs Carr said...

I'm especially interested to read Rachel Hore's book and I'll probable watch 127 hours.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

You always provide me with more ideas for films and books to add to my ever growing wish lists. Thanks though as I had somehow missed the fact that Rachel Hore had a new book out and I enjoy her writing.