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janebbooks reviews

Discussion in 'Book Reviews' started by janebbooks, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. janebbooks

    janebbooks Member

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    Last week, I mentioned on the General Mystery/Thriller discussion...when talking about Irish crime novels...the Ed Loy P. I. series by playwright Declan Hughes. Hughes is not writing any more thrillers...but his five or six were surely good "stuff." Here's my review of his first Ed Loy....THE WRONG KIND OF BLOOD: An Irish Novel of Suspense (2006).

    OPENING LINE: The night of my mother's funeral, Linda Dawson cried on my shoulder, put her tongue in my mouth and asked me to find her husband.

    Edward Loy, P.I. is a native Dubliner who returns to Ireland after twenty years away to bury his mother. He hasn't been a dutiful son; it's his first trip to his homeland since he left. When Loy is hired by a well-dressed woman to find her missing husband in the first chapter, this reader immediately thought of Ross MacDonald's THE DROWNING POOL. POOL is the second novel in MacDonald's Lew Archer series and is about tormented and fractured families, buried secrets that fester through multiple generations, environmental destruction, and concealed paternity. So is THE WRONG KIND OF BLOOD by Declan Hughes. With emphasis on family blood and betrayal.

    Ed Loy as a boy was one of The Three Musketeers, a trio of Irish lads who grew up together in Dublin. And a trio of fathers, John Dawson, Kenneth Courtney, and Eamonn Loy. The fathers, two of which left their families, were all concerned with the booming construction business. At the time of this novel, Dawson is engaged in getting permits to build a Castlehill golf course in the trendy section of the South Dublin Bay area. There's bribery of councilors and murder and mobsters involved.

    Toward the end of the book, Hughes tells us about blood:
    "Sometimes it's all down to blood.
    Blood can be wrong in itself.
    Blood can go wrong so easily.
    Blood can be wrong from the very beginning.
    The blood was never right in the first place."

    An impressive debut novel of blood and betrayal from the Irish Ross MacDonald.
     
  2. janebbooks

    janebbooks Member

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    [​IMG]

    Art and mystery, stolen or lost: an exciting combination whether factional or fictional.

    A book review of: The Lady in Gold: The extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer

    About the only thing that Anne-Marie O'Connor does not offer readers in her 349 page tome written in flowery narrative form is a simple yet spectacular-sounding description of THE LADY IN GOLD: Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (1881-1925) by Gustav Klimt. The painting completed in 1907 is oil, silver and gold leaf on canvas. It measures an awe-inspiring 138 cm by 138 cm and is considered a masterpiece of the Viennese Art Nouveau period (1890-1910). An art lover and blogger, Sabine Clappaert, observes: "On first inspection, the portrait with its vast expanse of delicate gold filigree that surrounds an ethereal face looks like just that: a commissioned portrait that flatters the upper-class wife of a mighty Viennese business tycoon..." Watch quietly, she says, for a while and you will note that "Surrounded by a daring sea of gold Adele appears fragile, and Klimt paints her with gentle intimate nuance. Her hair is delicately heaped, lids droop heavily across large almond eyes, plump lips parted slightly and flushed cheeks spread a warm glow across her face. Her elegantly tapered hands are folded loosely to hide a deformed finger..."

    This reader had a few questions that were addressed in the book. What happened to the Klimt after it was seized by the Nazis in pre-World War II? Why wasn't it destroyed as degenerate art in 1937 or through the dictates of Hitler's deathbed Nero Decree of 1945? Although the path of confiscation is not clear, we learn from O'Connor that THE LADY IN GOLD was acquired by the Belvedere Museum in 1941 through a backroom deal between the new director and a lawyer awarded a lucrative Reich concession for managing the state theft of the property of Jewish families. In 1943 the Nazi governor of Vienna displayed the portrait...cleansed of its "perverse Jewish spirit" with a change of name. The centerpiece of the Klimt exhibit became known as a portrait of an earthly goddess, THE LADY IN GOLD.

    And so in retrospect, O'Connor's extraordinary tale becomes a history of a prominent wealthy Jewish family in fin de siècle Vienna who lost then sought to regain their inheritance. She relates the history, as noted in the acknowledgements, mainly through the eyes and letters of Adele's older husband, Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer's niece, Maria Victoria Block-Bauer Altman. The tale ends as it began with the story of how a Los Angeles lawyer hired primarily by Maria Altman, one of three benefactors of Ferdinand's 1945 will, first views THE LADY IN GOLD in the bunker below the Belvedere Museum and returns it to the heirs after a ten year battle with the Austrian government. O'Connor neglects to mention the lawyer's contingency fee of $40 million for recovery of the five Klimt paintings. She also does not mention that Adele, although only age 18 when she modeled for the portrait, wanted it displayed not in her husband's bedroom nor a bunker but in a prominent place as a tribute to the artist for viewing by her fellow Austrians. But she does mention the Christie sale in June 2006 by the heirs to the owner of the Neue Galerie in New York, a museum devoted to early 20th century German and Austrian art: museum owner and cosmetics heir Ronald S. Lauder paid a reportedly $135 million for THE LADY IN GOLD. (The five Klimt's recovered by the Bloch-Bauer heirs fetched a estimated $327.7 million.)

    Hardcover, 349 pages including nearly 40 pages of notes, bibliography, a ten page alpha index, 54 black and white textual photographs, occasional name-droppings of other Austrian personalities of the period...Carl Moll, Alma Schindler Mahler, Billy Wilder, Hedy Lamarr, and Marlene Dietrich. Little biography of the artist or his model.

    Other reading you may enjoy: "Perils of Adele: Ronald S. Lauder buys a Klimt," June 20, 2006, by Christopher Benfey in THE SLATE magazine. http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/art/2006/06/perils_of_adele.htmle.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2014
  3. janebbooks

    janebbooks Member

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    Some of you know I moderate a discussion of A new mystery genre: Gothic tales of dark old houses on GoodReads.
    Several weeks ago I read a Canadian gal's review of ENDLESS NIGHT by Agatha Christie. The gal illustrated her review with a photo of Frank Lloyd Wright's FALLINGWATER. A modern house, said I....for a gothic tale of a poor lad who dreams of building a house in Devon and meets a rich American heiress who marries him and builds the house for him. Well, it could be gothic and a light modern house...so I just finished reading the late Christie. (Sorry, Delee...it's not a house for my discussion but I understand why you used FALLINGWATER: Not only because Christie describes it only as a modern house but that Wright designed the house in 1935 at the age of 67...it was built in 1936-1939.) But this Christie novel has piqued my interest again in her work...for other reasons...two of her clever plot devises..

    "Poor little rich girl...." A review of ENDLESS NIGHT by Agatha Christie

    ENDLESS NIGHT, published in 1967 in the UK as a Collins Crime Club selection, was the 60th detective/mystery novel written by Dame Agatha Christie (1890-1976) who wrote 66 such works. It is a standalone novel (not a Poirot nor Miss Marple) written in three parts.

    Part One introduces the four main characters: Michael Rogers, a young drifter currently employed as a chauffeur, has a chance meeting with the lovely Ellie Goodman. He dreams of building a magnificent house on a particular spot of land along the Devon coast. Unknown to him, she is actually a wealthy American heiress and can make his dream come true. With the help of her efficient German companion, Greta Andersen, they marry and build a memorable home designed by noted but ailing architect Rudolph Santonix.

    Naturally the plot thickens... the land the couple purchased is known as "Gypsy's Acre" and is said to carry a curse. Mysterious accidents pile up, a self-proclaimed gypsy haunts the grounds, and after a midnight accident, Greta moves in with the couple to nurse Ellie back to health, much to Michael's resentment. And all the while the few relatives (a stepmother and a few cousins) and many trustees, guardians, and attorneys disapprove of their young ward's marriage.

    A crime novel? Not so far. But read on as I did after thinking Dame Christie has lost her marbles. What starts as a romantic thriller becomes a mild literary success for the Queen of Mystery receiving some of the warmest critical response of her career. The London Times Literary Supplement states in 1967 that ENDLESS NIGHT written " in the persona of a working-class boy who marries a poor little rich girl...(is) a pleasantly gothic story of gypsy warnings" and that Christie "brings it all off, together with a nicely melodramatic final twist." Robert Bernard, mystery writer and critic, considers ENDLESS NIGHT a splendid late flowering and the best of the late Christie. He notes in his work, A Talent to Deceive: An Appreciation of Agatha Christie, that the plot contains a combination of patterns used in THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD (1926) and MURDER ON THE NILE (1937) and similarities in the "treatment of heiress/heroine's American lawyers in NILE...suggesting she had been rereading." He adds, "The murder occurs very late, and thus the central section seems desultory, even novelettish (poor little rich girl, gypsy's curse, etc.). But all is justified by the conclusion."

    Regardless of your reaction to the novel's ending, I believe you will find that ENDLESS NIGHT is a very good read. I agree with the laudatory review in the UK newspaper, The Guardian: "The old maestrina of the crime-novel (or whatever is the female of 'maestro') pulls yet another out of her inexhaustible bag...quite different in tone from her usual work. It is impossible to say much about the story without giving away vital secrets: sufficient to warn the reader that if he should think this is a romance he couldn't be more mistaken, and the crashing, not to say horrific suspense at the end, is perhaps the most devastating that this surpriseful author has ever brought off. "

    4.5 stars out of 5 stars
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2014
  4. trykemom

    trykemom Member

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    You started me on a trip down memory lane Jane. I read ENDLESS NIGHT over 40 years ago and I still remember the ending. That is amazing. I loved the book at the time. Agatha Christie introduced me to adult mystery stories. As a young child, I had read Nancy Drew in a set of old editions given to me by a cousin but by High School was reading mainly Science Fiction. It seems to me that Christie wrote another, very different, book with the same plot but I can't remember which book it was. Now I'm craving some Christie.
    ~Sheryl
     
  5. janebbooks

    janebbooks Member

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    Sheryl, you must be thinking of THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD. Perhaps only Linda, our esteemed English teacher, can hint more broadly at the device Dame Christie used in both ACKROYD and ENDLESS NIGHT. She called our attention to it in a review of THE GREAT GATSBY.
    Thanks for commenting...
    Jane
     
  6. janebbooks

    janebbooks Member

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    Water. Duck's Back. Paddle On.

    A review of Talking to the Dead: A Novel by Harry Bingham


    Paddle on. And that's what Bingham's quirky female detective does.

    We meet Bingham's new rookie copper at her job interview with the Cardiff, Wales police department.
    Fiona Griffiths, age 26, recent Cambridge graduate with a degree in philosophy, gets the job. Her boss thinks she's bright enough and may be "a couple of cases away from being a phenomenal officer or a right pain in the arse." D. C. Griffiths is different: she "works like a bluebottle" and she's probably a vegan and may be bi-sexual. She drives a white Peugeot coupe Cabriolet with two seats and a soft top. Diagnosed with Cotard's syndrome as a teen, she has little chance of a relapse for she constantly strives for Planet Normal by drinking peppermint tea.

    We learn of her first cases in first-person narrative. Detective Constable Griffiths is assigned the tedious task of getting the goods on a former Met cop injured in the line of duty who steals money from a Catholic boys school. But she's really curious about the top squad case: A prozzie and her daughter are found murdered at a local squat with a millionaire's platinum bankcard lying nearby. So she segues into that case, too.

    Did I tell you that D. C. Griffiths is blunt? Well she is. She asks the millionaire's wife if he liked rough sex (he's presumed dead after a plane crash). And inquires of the fellow girls of the night if they knew the millionaire....sorta out of the blue. And in case you think she's another Lisbeth Salander as SansSerif, a "Vine Voice," does in her Amazon review on August 5, 2012, read the author's retort in the comments. He would much rather you compare his Fiona to Claire Danes' character in HOMELAND.
    http://www.amazon.com/review/RLLENV1KY23VJ/ref=cm_cr_pr_cmt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0345533739#wasThisHelpful

    And in case you are wondering where Fiona talks to the dead...read the first lines of SansSerif's excellent review. Very revealing...you may chuckle when she tells us Fiona is "quite comfy in mortuaries."
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014
  7. janebbooks

    janebbooks Member

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    Back in September 2010...I participated in a group read of RESTLESS by British best-selling author William Boyd. Boyd is an interesting mainstream fiction writer; however, I found myself restless about his main male character Lucas Romer...his egotistical, arrogant spymaster...his lack of courtesy toward the female characters. Boyd, I thought, must allow his readers rather shocking small glimpses of male anatomy and sexual prowess in his predominate male character to emphasize superiority over the female character. When I saw a PBS adaptation of Boyd's ANY HUMAN HEART....and the opening scene of a young Logan viewing his tutor in a full frontal nakedness in the ocean surf, I said there it is again...Boyd's trademark. (BTW, William Boyd wrote the teleplays for both his novels RESTLESS and ANY HUMAN HEART.)

    When RESTLESS the film was shown on the Sundance channel in 2012....I posted an afterword on the Group Read ICE thread: Boyd's teleplays are better than the books. And just recently I wrote a "preview" of the Region 2 dvd of RESTLESS that will be released in the UK through Amazon in June 2014. (It's rather pricey...27 pounds plus about $4 shipping)

    5 stars out of 5: William Boyd's terrific two-part adaptation of his own spy thriller finally comes to a dvd...

    RESTLESS, the television adaptation of William Boyd's novel of the same name, was shown on UK BBC One and US Sundance Channel television in two parts in December 2012. The teleplay was nominated for two Primetime Emmy awards the following spring. Here are my notes on Part I.

    CAST:
    Eva Delectorskaya/Sally Gilmartin....Hayley Atwell ("Any Human Heart")....Charlotte Rampling ("Swimming Pool")
    Ruth Gilmartin....Michelle Dockery ("Downton Abbey")
    Lucas Romer....Rufus Sewell ("Zen")(Part 1)....Michael Gambon ("Dancing at Lughnasa")(Part 2)

    Part I is primarily a flashback of Eva's early life as a spy...the better part of the story. The settings in the flashbacks are filmed on location in Europe and are spectacular. The cars used in the production are European vintage in beautiful condition. The costumes are interesting and appear authentic. The cast is superlative.

    The story begins in 1976 when Ruth (a long red-haired hippie working on her doctorate) and her son visit her mother Sally in a remote part of England. Ruth finds her mother in great fear thinking someone is in the woods behind the house trying to kill her. Sally has purchased a rifle, binoculars, and a telescope. She tells her daughter she was a Russian girl named Eva that was a spy for the British in a clandestine group that offered refuge for German informants and recruited Roosevelt's help for British causes in WW II. She gives Ruth her journal. Sally implores Ruth to find and visit Lucas Romer, the only one she trusts in the group, to stop the present-day killers.

    Most of Part I is a flashback to the excellent Eva Delectorskara story: Eva is portrayed by the beautiful and talented Hayley Atwell. We visit 1939 German-occupied France when she is recruited by Lucas Romer after her brother is killed by Nazis....and view her training at a safe house. The film emphasizes that Eva received no weapons training, so it is clearer that she is training to be a seductress. (At least, clearer to me in the teleplay than in the novel.)

    The restaurant scene, one of Eva's first capers, takes place in Amsterdam when she and Romer, but primarily Eva, are to rescue a Dutch informant. (Again, wonderful settings). The man gives Eva the wrong "double password" and Eva escapes through a bathroom window and witnesses the informant's death by several Nazi diners. The scene is vivid and well done....and shows Romer's dominance over Eva's activities. (He's across the street in a hotel with a pair of binoculars!)

    Romer, played by a handsome Rufus Sewell with a thin moustache, is not nicer than in the book...still an arrogant, rude man! He stays in the shadows at Eva's brother's funeral and during her spy training. The several times they meet, he is discourteous and does not treat her as a lady (although one of her fake passports is for a Baroness). Both Eva and Romer smoke continuously. Other men light her cigarettes...just not Romer. There is a strange scene where one of the group, an older man, calls Eva to witness a murder posed as a suicide....at a crime scene before the police are summoned. Eva recognizes the victim as one of the directors of the group.

    One can still wonder in the film, as in the book, why Eva and Romer became lovers. It happens suddenly with a kiss and then a seduction in a hotel room. If I recall, it's right after the restaurant caper. (As someone mentioned in the book discussion....love happens fast in tense times.) Although RESTLESS is an adult drama, there is no profanity nor any bodily function or display in bad taste. Romer's sexual practice (coitus interruptus) is hinted at in the hotel room scene...but you would miss it if you have not read the novel.

    Part I ends when Eva is assigned to seduce Harry Hopkins' aide during the Roosevelt presidency in America. Previews of the conclusion show her as a blowsy blonde.....

    Stay tuned...
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2014
  8. pontalba

    pontalba Well-Known Member

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    Oh, I loved Restless, and am very happy to hear of a film of it. I searched Amazon.....can't find it. But I'll keep looking! Thanks for the heads up.
     
  9. Maine Colonial

    Maine Colonial Moderator Staff Member

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    Jane, I sure wish they'd come up with a US DVD. It's just plain annoying that they just showed this (and only once?) on Sundance and that's the end of it.
     
  10. pontalba

    pontalba Well-Known Member

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    MC, I'll be surprised if they don't.
     
  11. janebbooks

    janebbooks Member

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    pontalba....the dvd (a BBC/Sundance production) of William Boyd's RESTLESS is being released for purchase on Amazon UK on June 16, 2014. It's rather pricey and you have to have an all regions dvd player to play it here in the USA.

    Cheer up, Maine! We got DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY: The novel in three months. Maybe we'll get RESTLESS: The dvd by Christmas. (Sundance showed it more than once...I caught Part 2 for the DVR on February 22, 2013.)

    And speaking of PEMBERLEY....hasn't the film with Anna Maxwell Smith ("Bletchley Circle")...Matthew Rhys ("The Americans") ...and Matthew Goode ("The Good Wife") been wrapped? You announced the filming with nice photos of the actors for the main roles a good while ago.
    How did you recall Matthew Goode?

    And speaking of pricey....have you noticed that Amazon UK has at least made their shipping more reasonable...since they gobbled up Book Depository. The shipping on a dvd from across the pond is about $4. Same as from Amazon USA...
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2014
  12. pontalba

    pontalba Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, again, Jane. :) I expect it'll be coming over here sometime this year then. Hopefully.

    Re The Good Wife, we are just getting ready to watch the last episode on Amazon sometime today. I don't like all the directions it's taken this year, especially the Sweeney episode last week.
     
  13. janebbooks

    janebbooks Member

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    Sorry, book and film friends, this is not a review! Well, it is in a sense. It's a review of a reviewer! I had to write it...I hope you read it...

    As of last week, Kyle Harris has written 3,274 customer reviews for Amazon. He currently has 92% helpful votes (50,449 of 55, 017). About 80% of his reviews appear to be film reviews although he has to have read the books - most of these films are based on books). He is a top Vine reviewer and is currently ranked #13. My kind of film reviewer…everything from a review of a Lifetime original film about Lizzie Borden… to one of a Frances Hodson Burnett PBS production of THE MAKING OF A LADY starring Maggie Fox… to the Swedish film adaptations of the Wallender novels by Henning Mankell….and that’s just the films he’s reviewed lately!

    I met K. Harris "Film Afficionado" on the Amazon product page for a Hiburnian noir series of DVDs. He agreed with me about the Jack Taylor films (Series 1) from the novels of Ken Bruen although he gave it a higher rating. His review followed mine in time sequence, and I was very flattered that he used some of the exact words for a description of the character and the general plots that I did. He probably gave me a favorable vote on my 3 out of 5 star review…currently the most favorable critical review of the set. His reviews are little “prose stories,” too, giving his readers the right amount of general information about settings, general time period, author/screenwriter…including other works…and enough plot to justify his intelligent criticism or praise. (Mine are similar, only a bit longer…I’m older and retired.). He seems happy in his current occupation which sounds like a dream job….all that reading for a living must be great fun! And his other credentials are impressive, too. Besides…his film reviews seem based on the performance of the actors rather than the directors’ history and style…but I’ve only read a few! And he loves Oscar trivia as I do… I love trivia about books, films, authors and especially OSCARs…he may like my review of George Clooney’s fifth triple star movie as director, co-screenwriter, and actor….THE MONUMENTS MEN…or maybe the one I wrote about Clooney’s THE AMERICAN.

    His profile statements are copied below. After that WTF remark by another poster for my “spoiler without an alert” on the Amazon NBIE mystery discussion and the WAS misogynistic comments about female reviewers on the British detective films discussion…I may just adopt some of Harris’s practices as a commentator. ( I must admit Mr. Smith has given me some valuable tips/advice for a better review. He is a Agatha Christie/Dorothy Sayer/Charles Dickens fan and scholar and Oxford educated - as he reminds other posters frequently. I find his criticism often most perceptive because he’s acclimated to the clime and culture of these British writers.)

    HARRIS PROFILE STATEMENT….(I) almost never reply to comments anymore--I have found that it simplifies things quite a bit. Years ago, I began writing reviews for Amazon because it was fun. I met terrific people and entered into many discussions and debates about the products that we read and/or viewed. I did, however, become discouraged with the more negative aspects of such a public forum. I all but quit writing for two years. When the Vine came around, it got me reviewing again--and it was great. Unnecessary comments and blind voting having nothing to do with an actual review remind me of why I left and represent just about everything that is wrong with Amazon. .What kind of a world do we live in if someone takes the time to be rude and nasty to an absolute stranger for no discernible reason? Is it really necessary to go out of your way to be a b***h? Do you get some kind of kick or cheap thrill?
    Ultimately, not everyone will agree with every review. That's great. On Amazon, it means instant negative votes. I, personally, have never given someone a negative vote just because their opinion differed from my own. A well reasoned argument or a well stated opinion is always appreciated. Differing viewpoints are a fact of life. And someone offering a different perspective can be just as helpful or more so than someone who just reiterates your point of view. At the end of the day, I do not write any review to impress someone or convince anyone of anything. I write reviews because I enjoy it. That simple. Using comments and forum boards to attack others--that I do not enjoy. Those comments actually say more about who leave them than they will ever say about who they are left for… I hate reviews that can't be objective. There are lots of bad movies that I like for various reasons, but I can still be honest and recognize their limitations. And there are lots of great movies that perhaps didn't connect with me personally, but I can still recognize their merit. Being objective is the benchmark of being a good critic with something to say!

    HARRIS interests….I'm a pop culture enthusiast--and most of my interaction on Amazon will be for film/DVD and books. I work with the buyers of a major book purveyor hoping to discover the next great thing! As such, my taste is quite eclectic... I also went to grad school in film and worked on the periphery of the entertainment industry for over ten years.
    I appreciate every type of film--as long as it's good! Comedies, dramas, romance, horror, sci-fi, adventure/action, foreign, anime/animated--I will enter anything with an open mind. I do have a love for the Oscars, however, and the amount of useless trivia I possess on that topic is astoundingly unnecessary!

    MY POSTSCRIPT: I could write nice things about all of you. After all, we've enjoyed friendly talk about our lives and our interests. BUT what I want to know RIGHT NOW is why aren't you posting more often?....and why have some of you left?....
    Jane
     
  14. janebbooks

    janebbooks Member

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    Here's the cover of the DVD of William Boyd's RESTLESS....some of us read the book and discussed it at another site. The DVD is about to be released on Amazon UK for Region 2 players only....I saw the teleplay on Sundance in December 2012. My review of the DVD was posted on this thread.........several weeks ago.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2014
  15. janebbooks

    janebbooks Member

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    Maine....I need your mailing address. I won a copy of RESTLESS for Region 1 on E-bay....along with a copy of TOP OF THE LAKE. Both were Sundance (and BBC) and they were both in the very nice package of 2012 Sundance movies sent to Emmy voters. I have RESTLESS to send to you.

    Jane
     
  16. janebbooks

    janebbooks Member

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    Pride has been subdued and prejudice overcome....again.
    A Preview of DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY...the teleplay.


    Elizabeth Bennet, the most successful disposal in marriage of the five daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet of Longboum, is a heroine to be admired in the books of Miss Jane Austen who wrote novels dealing with issues of manner, upbringing, morality, education and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th century England. In Austen's PRIDE & PREJUDICE (1813) Elizabeth, the second of five daughters, marries Mr. Darcy, the most desirable gentleman owner of the vast estate of Pemberley.

    In 2011, in a witty and inventive homage to Miss Austen, P. D. James continues the story of Elizabeth and Darcy in DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY. James, the grand dame of British mysteries, the creator of Commander Adam Dalgliesch of Scotland Yard, throws in a murder in the woodland near Pemberley with apologies to "the shade of Jane Austen for involving her beloved Elizabeth in the trauma of a murder investigation." Well, something had to enliven the rather dull married lives of privileged Englishwomen of the period other than fancy balls and new gowns...and after all..."A murder in the family can provide the fission of excitement at fashionable dinner parties..."

    Austenites in general were in an uproar. Especially the admirers of fair Lizzie.

    And now BBC has released a 180 minute televised adaptation of DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY. The teleplay will be shown in America on PBS Masterpiece Sundays in two episodes October 26-November 2, 2014. Anna Maxwell Smith and Matthew Rhys star as Elizabeth and Darcy, now six years married with two young sons.

    In her review of the BBC film adaptation for the British Society For Eighteenth-Century Studies, Marina Carlo-Lopez, clearly an Austenite, states the film is "a successful adaptation of a not so successful novel." I think what she's trying to say that Austenites and Jamesians may finally unite in approval of the continuation of the story. Rhys interpretation as P. D. James' Fitzwilliam Darcy will be the catalyst.

    Welsh-born actor Matthew Rhys, when asked if he wanted to play Darcy, said "Absolutely not... The readership of PRIDE & PREJUDICE is so enormous, and Darcy has now become this iconic figure...part of the heritage." But his agent persisted, according to an Entertainment Weekly interview. And Rhys finally agreed that "This isn't the Darcy that everyone knows. This is a different Darcy... He's been mellowed by Elizabeth... As much as he is different and having [children] has changed him, he reverts back to who Darcy was, certainly in PRIDE & PREJUDICE, because his name is on the line, the estate is on the line, and those sort of intrinsic Darcy morals come back. So it's the best of both worlds."

    Perhaps the admirers of Colin Firth's performance as Darcy in the 1995 miniseries will be disappointed. Neither Rhys nor his fellow actor Matthew Goode, who plays Darcy's brother-in-law Wickham, are not doing a white-shirt-in-the-pond scene. And fans of Jennifer Ehle's Elizabeth will surely be disappointed in Anna Maxwell Smith as their beloved character. Perhaps a darker hair color and brighter gowns would have enlivened the rather plain Smith as the more mature mistress of Pemberley, once the wit of Longboum.

    Early in the James' novel, when Elizabeth is thinking of her short courtship and subsequent marriage with Darcy, she muses: "If this were fiction, could even the most brilliant novelist contrive to make credible so short a period in which pride has been subdued and prejudice overcome?"

    Yes, Elizabeth, it can be done in a 310 page novel by a modern day Baroness and a 180 minute film adaptation. But this time, to Austen's manners, upbringing and morality of a daughter who marries well, we add James' family loyalty and fervor of the gentleman who marries her and who successfully confronts a family scandal.

    Pride has been subdued and prejudice overcome....again.
     
  17. readingomnivore

    readingomnivore Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for an interestingly written review. It reassures me that maybe I won't dislike DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY, the adaptation. I'm now looking forward to it instead.
     
  18. janebbooks

    janebbooks Member

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  19. readingomnivore

    readingomnivore Well-Known Member

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