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review 2019-03-18 14:52
A Streetcar Named Desire
A Streetcar Named Desire (Modern Classics Penguin) - Arthur Miller,Tennessee Williams

Half way and I'm thinking, "This isn't as good as the other two of his plays I'm acquainted with," then, within a few pages it takes a turn for the more - dramatic! Then it becomes more brutal and more affecting and more gripping - I raced through the remainder. It's a grim story with Mitch the only significant character who comes out of it looking at all decent. The others are morbidly fascinating and superbly written.

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review 2019-03-18 12:39
This is more like it.
The Gazebo - Patricia Wentworth,Diana Bishop

(More than The Alington Inheritance, that is.) -- Still a bit too much of a whiny heroine, but at least we're firmly back in true and trusted Maudie territory.  And it has to be said, while the victim is no Mrs. Boynton (cf. Agatha Christie, Appointment With Death), by the time she finally meets her end few would argue that the world is not a better place without her in it.

 

There are some shades of Grey Mask here (broken off engagement sends the hero to "forn parts", where he roams the wilderness for a few years until he starts missing the old country and returns, only to be plunged straight into his former / still beloved's latest messy circumstances: if there's one trope Wentworth can be said to be overusing, it's probably this one; e.g., it's also the premise of Miss Silver Comes to Stay, and with a twist, of The Traveller Returns / aka She Came Back, and a key character's surprise return also features importantly in The Watersplash, albeit minus broken off engagement) -- and although this is emphatically not an inverted mystery, both the whodunnit and the core "why" is pretty obvious from the get-go.  (Or I've just read too many stories of that type.  But Wentworth really isn't exactly subtle about this particular bit.)  Despite a valiant attempt on Wentworth's part at creating a plausible back story for the "who" and "why", the motive still feels a bit contrived ... or let's say, it's the kind of thing that pretty much only Arthur Conan Doyle could get away with (or the creators of mysteries for young readers, where it's a particular favorite).  But at least Wentworth's attempt here is not any worse than those of other authors using this particular trope.

 

Most of all, though, Wentworth's fine eye for character(s) and human interactions shines once again -- in the portrayal of abusive relationships (there are several here) as well as the creation of the comic relief, in this instance, three gossipping old-maidish sisters -- who in another book might easily have had a different role (and indeed the local gossip is portrayed extremely negatively in The Alington Inheritance) but here it's clear that they are essentially harmless and, indeed, ultimately even helpful to the investigation.  And of course, watching Maudie and her most devoted fan (Frank Abbott) is always a joy.

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review 2019-03-18 01:50
The Silver Darlings
The Silver Darlings (Ff Classics) - Neil M. Gunn

Good grief, this was bleak and boring. Sure it ends on a hopeful note, but I am just so done with this book.

 

Previous updates:

 

Reading progress update: I've read 291 out of 585 pages.

Reading progress update: I've read 206 out of 585 pages.

Reading progress update: I've read 18 out of 585 pages.

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text 2019-03-17 19:10
Reading progress update: I've read 291 out of 585 pages.
The Silver Darlings (Ff Classics) - Neil M. Gunn

The story is still mostly about the "plague" (the cholera outbreak), fishing, and Finn growing up in the mids of the impotence of the people against their circumstances, but there are some beautiful passages:

"Finn had often heard of Cape Wrath and now had plenty of time to gaze on its towering crags against which white sea-birds floated like blown feathers, their high cries sounding afar off and inward, in echo of rock and cavern. It inspired the crew with awe and held them to silence, and none the less because the sea around it was to-day comparatively calm with, however, that ominous long swing and heave of the waters that broke in deep white. Peril was clearly held on uneasy rein, and the rock-brows stared over crested seas to an uttermost Arctic."

(Cape Wrath. Image found on the interwebs.)

 

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text 2019-03-17 16:53
Reading progress update: I've read 59 out of 111 pages.
A Streetcar Named Desire (Modern Classics Penguin) - Arthur Miller,Tennessee Williams

So far the three leads seem more like archetypes than individuals.

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