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review 2017-06-27 01:39
And it just ends there
Rosemary's Baby - Ira Levin

I think I remember some comments about how the movie was a campy style of horror. It left me completely unprepared for this read.

This is horror alright. I'm unsettled while writing this, actually. I think it's that most of it is more or less plausible. You take away the supernatural bits, and it would still scare you white.

The young, naive, isolated wife, the selfish husband, all the subservient vibes she has going and the way he gaslights her. That conception scene that's bound to leave me with nightmares.

He drugs her! Let's someone/thing rape her while she's out of it, and then to cover the evidence says HE had his way with her because it was baby-making-night. He makes it as she had too much to drink, he excuses himself as him having a bit too much too, that SHE wanted a baby... So gross and disturbing.

(spoiler show)



Reading how the noose and net is slowly tightened, the way she's cut away from anyone that could help her, was harrowing. At some point I had to tear myself away to work and shop for groceries, and even though I was horrified, I did not want to.

It's an unstoppable read. And way better and scarier than I though it'd be. Cheers to Levin. He was always leery of the way the movie turned popular, but there is certainly nothing wrong with the quality of his book.

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review 2017-06-21 08:46
Even the title is layered
A Room with a View - E.M. Forster

I feel like I read a book twice as long as this was, not because it was heavy or difficult, but because it was so tightly woven. There were layers of meaning, and so much that could be inferred, and for such short pages, many characters get well fleshed out. No line is wasted. There is this... English brevity, I guess, that makes me recall the meandering tone of "Passage to India". Says something about what must characterize each people in Forster's mind, huh?

It is also a quiet way to depict a fast and turbulent romance, which feels weird in a "still waters run deep" kind of way. There is this three-way war going, between mind, heart and manners (or is it pride?, self-image? calcified indecision?), it is evident when you get to the lying chapters, and the weather tends to illustrate it, but before then, before Lucy looses her temper at Miss Bartlet at the beginning of them out of revelatory fright, it's all so sedate. On the outside; Lucy's facing the exterior gets a companion chapter on "The disaster within". She's running from love: it is scary, exiting, something unknown, and unrecognized, and social mores don't help her in disentangling from the muddle.

On the side, we get some awesome darts thrown into time old hypocrisy, such as how emancipated women are perceived or "accepted"; how men think women think about men; people abroad; obligation as it pertains to favors out of honesty (Emerson) or self-serving humbleness (Charlotte); and bunch of stuff I either posted already, or have marked down and can't speedily condense here. In case the main course wasn't enough.

Seriously, this guy had a way with words.

 

Note: I have to get another copy. Mine was abysmally translated. I turned to a digital version in original English after 20 pages or so. If you read in Spanish, avoid translator Marta Pessarrodona. She's a menace and a beast. Word confusions (she translated kitten instead of kite, for example), wrong conjugations (translated "would have" as present simple), change of punctuation, which changes pace drastically and unnecessarily (specifically, Cecil's entrance is most egregious), change of meaning of whole paragraphs (to the point of reading as the opposite). And it ts only what I caught just searching for the paragraphs I wanted to mark down as memorable while reading the digital copy! Much of this I could not understand of someone supposedly getting paid. It would have been more difficult to invent as she did.

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review 2017-06-13 17:41
Lovely if a bit heavy handed
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis,Pauline Baynes

This was a lovely read. A great opening line, lots of magic and adventure, and Reepicheep, a character that has shot to my favorites list.

 

I have issues with the fact that Aslan was mixed up with turning around every bad habit or decision, because it says redemption or improvement is impossible without religion to me. I like the concept of free will, and I like to think we can pick the right path without constant divine nudges, so a start docked for the heavy handedness.

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review 2017-05-24 01:37
American family meets gothic English ghost
The Canterville Ghost - Oscar Wilde,Inga Moore

The ghost looses. Outrageously.

 

Quick and hilarious. Drama queen ghost, terror twins, painter mary-sue (*snigger* that paint chat, lol), prepared big brother (stain remover in his pocket?) and practical American Minister, it was all fun. Hands down, the theatrical haunting anecdotes were where I would invariably erupt in barks of laughter.

 

I take one star for change of tone, and because it felt like the denouement was too long in comparison with the rest.

 

But I so have to buy this one.

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review 2017-05-17 00:23
Incoming Rant
The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway

You know, I'd read in some posh literary review that Jake and Brett were two of Hemingway's most lovable characters, but I really can't see how that could be. I get he was painting an era, but I had the same difficulties I had with Fitzgerald's "Great Gatsby": I was bored by the characters misery (first world high class problems, people, that's what you have!); and I was enraged by the chaos and destruction they sowed all around themselves with their callow carelessness. Stupid egotistical brats.

And that's the other thing: they ARE reacting like brats. "Our parent's culture and ideology crumbled down and betrayed us! Let's rage and get drunk, and screw everyone around!" Except, you know, they are in their middle thirties. I don't say you have to have your shit together by that time or any other, God knows you never really do, and life has a marvelous way of sucker punch you when you think you have it balanced, but the over the top woe-is-me shit you are supposed to learn to manage after the hormones of puberty stabilize.

Every generation has challenges, and I reckon those that were born around the turn of the 20th century had a suck-fest of a raw deal, but what I saw inside this book was not just depression and insecurity over lost direction and of self, but a total lack of care for other people. I saw the phrase "moral bankruptcy" around, and I think that's and exact description, but it was treated as an excuse for how these particular characters act, because apparently it was a pervasive thing all around. News-flash: if everyone is a terrible person, and you act like everyone, you are still a terrible person.

 

So no, I have no love for these characters. Now, do I have any use for this book? *sigh* Thorny issue. If it was an accurate representation of the generation, I have to loose any surprise at seeing them fall right back into war; they all felt suicidal to me, and self-centered enough to blow up the world along with themselves.

 

So here's what I think: maybe it's useful, but I did not like it.

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