This was the first book club reading that, I’m sorry to say, turned out to be a complete dud. I still finished it because the central mystery kept my interest, but it’s not a good sign when you start cringing a couple of pages in.
There is a potentially interesting if harrowing story at the heart of the novel. In a small USA town, a teenage girl called Jenny Kramer is brutally raped at a high school party. Her parents agree to an experimental treatment that erases Jenny’s memory of the event; in theory this should spare her from PTSD and allow her to return to normal life. But Jenny’s trauma finds its way out regardless, and she decides that she wants to recover her memory of the rape. The novel’s narrator, Dr. Forrester, is the psychiatrist who treats Jenny as well as her parents who deal with their own emotional fallout and deep-seated issues. There’s also the question of who committed this horrific crime.
Well that’s another 80s Movie I’ve Never Seen off my list. Watching popular films from decades ago for the first time can be a hit-and-miss experience (sorry Flashdance but I can’t see what everyone saw in you), but Dirty Dancing I thought had undeniable charm and appeal that goes beyond mere nostalgia and hype.
I meant to get started on the next book for our club, but instead I got sidetracked re-reading this Agatha Christie mystery, a Miss Marple mystery to be precise. This book has an unusual history in Christie’s oeuvre – during her life it was locked in a vault on her request, to be published posthumously along with Curtain, Hercule Poirot’s last mystery. Unlike Curtain, which wrapped up Poirot’s life and work, there’s no such finality in Sleeping Murder and there are further Miss Marple stories that follow it chronologically, so the foreboding byline on the book cover is pretty misleading. No need for drama, Miss Marple is still alive and kicking at the end.
They’re showing a couple of Andrei Tarkovsky films at the Astor Theatre this month, so friend and I went to see this 1972 Soviet sci-fi classic. The pitch I made to my friend was, are you up for some slow and boring Russian sci-fi, an in-joke as we both appreciate slow-paced movies that are more about submerging yourself rather than going on a thrill ride. Solaris is definitely not for everybody and I saw a couple of walkouts in the cinema, but if you can surrender to its glacial pacing and penchant for ambiguity, it’s a rewarding experience and leaves you with much to think about.
After watching (and loving) the anime film, I thought I’d check out this recent Hollywood remake with Scarlett Johansson. It was pretty much what I had expected: watchable with a few arresting visual moments and a decent lead performance, but all in all a dumbed down and hollow take on the original.
Last time I saw Marlon Williams he played a much smaller venue, but now this Kiwi boy has gone up in the world playing the beautiful Forum Theatre, a sold-out show no less! A promotion he thoroughly deserves.