A couple of promising debuts from young female artists; an awesome stomping rawwk record.
I absolutely loved Kate Atkinson’s brilliant and inventive Life After Life from a few years back, a genre-defying novel that portrayed the many parallel lives of its heroine Ursula Todd in the first half of the 20th century. It also introduced the readers to the rest of the Todd family, among them Ursula’s beloved younger brother Teddy who becomes a bomber pilot in World War II. In the final “life” of the novel, Teddy gets a miraculous reprieve: presumed dead by everyone, he survives the war and comes back after having spent time as a POW. A God in Ruins takes that ending and runs with it, exploring Teddy’s war as well as his post-war life, a life that he never really expected to have.
This novel marks the debut of Miss Marple, Christie’s other beloved fictional detective, a gentle and harmless-looking old lady with a keen interest in human nature and a remarkably clear view of its dark side. I couldn’t say if it’s the best Miss Marple whodunit, but it ranks as my personal favourite for being so enjoyable to re-visit. I lost count of how many times I picked up my old tattered copy of The Murder at the Vicarage (now replaced with a more respectable one) for a quick and easy in-between comfort re-read.
My first reaction to the title of this movie was to wonder if it was something in the spirit of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, maybe a horror parody of Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady? But no, instead this exquisite French film is a sumptuous and sensual drama about an impossible love between two women in 18th-century Brittany.
I’ve now read three Liane Moriarty books and enjoyed them all, including this latest novel which is probably the funniest so far, and a perfect summer read to take to the beach. Most of the times I take a book or magazine with me to the beach I actually don’t end up reading it, but I was glued to this one.
I appreciated this new take on Louisa May Alcott’s beloved semi-autobiographical novel more than I loved it, which is not to say that there weren’t things I unabashedly loved.
If you haven’t read the book or seen any previous adaptations, some spoilers to follow.
Picking this Poirot novel as my next Christie re-read was a purely strategic choice. Since I’ve committed to a full Christie marathon, it meant revisiting occasional stinkers as well as masterpieces; not everything Dame Agatha touched turned to gold. If I didn’t want to end up with a bunch of duds to read through gritted teeth, I’d better start sprinkling them in along the way. I remember being underwhelmed with a few Christie novels, but I’d be surprised if I come across a worse book than The Big Four. It’s a relief to get this travesty out of the way.