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review 2018-10-22 18:45


I'll admit it-I was leery when I heard that Netflix was adapting this to a television show. It's one of my favorite novels of all time and in my mind there was no way any TV show was going to live up to this book. 

I was wrong. 


It doesn't exactly live up to the book-it creates its own story, one loosely related to the original, one respectful of the original, but also one that deserves praise in its own right. I say respectful, because the character names are almost all straight from the book, but the characters they represent are all different, other than Mr. and Mrs. Dudley.

(They were and remain the caretakers of Hill House. They do not stay past nightfall, so no one will hear you scream in the night) I say it deserves praise because of the reasons I've listed below. 



The cast, the music, the cinematography, the writing, (sometimes quoting the best of the novel), even the opening sequence: all of it was incredibly moving, scary, heartbreaking,  and in the end...BEAUTIFUL. Simply, beautiful.


The performances, by all the players, both young and adult, were phenomenal. 


The characters from left to right:

Theo, Hugh, (the dad), Shirley, Luke, Eleanor, (Nell, her back is to us), Stephen, and Olivia. 


The characters as adults, from left to right:

Nell, Shirley, Luke, Hugh, (this is young Hugh), Oliva, Theo and Stephen.


As the older Hugh, an extraordinary Timothy Hutton. He knocked this out of the park. 

(Like my beloved Red Sox did this year, but that's another post!)


That red door! That damned red door. 






Created by Mike Flanagan, this is possibly the best horror show on television, ever. Period.


The cinematography, (do you still call it that when it's a TV show?),  the long uncut camera shot in episode 6 (20+ minutes!), was a masterpiece. 


The set decorator-I don't even know what to say. That house was gorgeous,(in the scenes which took place when the family was living there.) The furniture, the stained glass, the portraits, the clocks, the rugs-all of it perfectly placed. 


This show was so damn good it's caused me to write my very first television series review. I cannot recommend it highly enough! No, it's not the book, however, it treats the book respectfully, and even quotes it from time to time. That said, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE on NETFLIX is a masterpiece that stands on its own. 


My highest recommendation!

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review 2018-10-20 22:23
The House of Broken Angels
The House of Broken Angels - Luis Alberto Urrea

When I first read the description of this book, the first thing that came to mind was a book I read about 15 years ago, about another Mexican patriarch on his death dead, La Muerte de Artemio Cruz (1962) by Carlos Fuentes. As I started the book, I realized that I was indeed reading the death bed story/confession(?) of the next generation.


There were the subtle similarities, very similar clan surnames (Cruz vs. de la Cruz), similar character names (Artemio Cruz vs Antonio de la Cruz), similar narration techniques and multiple narrators and points of view. However, Urrea's story, while perhaps an homage to Fuentes, is very much the story of the 21st century Mexican-Americans--the boomers, the millenials, the genXers-- those a generation or two on from the characters Fuentes wrote about. It is a story about assimilation, about working to hard to provide for one's family and to give the next generation a leg up in the world. It is about the bonds of family, the strength of women, the changing mores not just of the barrio but of society in general. And you get the gist.


I never read books narrated by the author (unless they are read by an actor) but after reading the reviews, I decided to go for it. Urrea reads beautifully. His voices and pronunciations were spot on--in both languages.I don't think any other narrator could have done the story justice.


My only disappointment in the whole book was what I felt was a weak ending and that maybe it was one last coda too many. But honestly, that does not stop me from recommending this book.

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