Saturday, September 02, 2006

First in an occasional series......

.....The Last Book I Read. I'm not trying to be Oprah, or, God forbid, Richard and Judy, but just attempting to give you an insight into the inner workings of my psyche through the medium of literature, from Chinua Achebe to Emile Zola. And yes, I have just nipped off to the spare room to look at my bookshelves. Pretty pleased to have two literary heavyweights bookending things, though I should confess at this point that I haven't yet read the Zola one (Germinal). Which makes me hypocritical as well as pretentious.

Anyway, moving on, the book in question was (drum roll): The Weight Of Water by Anita Shreve.

Purchased for the princely sum of £1.99 in the Oxfam shop on Cotham Hill.

It's a two parallel intertwined stories kind of story, switching randomly between one (the present-day thread - a photographer visiting (by boat) some remote islands off the coast of Maine where some women were murdered in the 19th century, and struggling with family/marital problems at the same time) and the other (the story of the people involved in the original murder case). All very well written, though it's fairly clear where the historical storyline is heading (and I don't just mean the murder bit - obviously that's where it's heading. Then again it's not meant to be a whodunnit). There is one other problem as well: the modern-day narrator (Jean, if I remember rightly) discovers a written account of the events leading up to and culminating in the murders written by one of the women involved. The original was in Norwegian, but there is an English translation with it. Well.....who did the translation? And when? And given that it reveals that an innocent man was executed for the murders, why didn't they do something with it instead of hiding it away? Maybe I missed a bit.

It was made into a film, it turns out, starring Sean Penn among others (Catherine McCormack as well, I think). Could go and look it up but I can't be bothered. You do it if you like.

I've just started another one, but you'll have to wait until I've finished it to find out what it is. Almost unbearably exciting, isn't it?

Oh, one non-literary update as well: I've changed the comment settings so anyone at all can leave one, if they should wish to do so. This has been a public service announcement.

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