Saturday, September 25, 2010

Buzz off Little Bee

The Alexandria Campus Book Club met on Sept 24th to discuss Chris Cleave's novel Little Bee.

The book received rapturous reviews in the American Press -- the Washington Post said it will "blow you away", Library Journal called it "astonishing and flawless", The Boston Globe said it was "vividly memorable and provocative...heartwarming and heartbreaking."

Book club members were not quite as impressed, finding the novel "mannered", "improbable," "unbelievable," and "melodramatic."

Published under the title The Other Hand in Great Britain, the novel received more mixed reviews. The Independent thought it was "shocking, exciting and deeply affecting," The Guardian called it "an ambitious and fearless gallop." However, the Daily Telegraph found it "faultlessly relevant, but ultimately cloying," and the Times said it was a "clotted and hysterical tale... implausible... and absurdly over-written," calling one of the main characters "batty, bizarre and inconsistent and unsympathetic."
This reader thought the luckiest character in the book was Andrew who, by committing suicide in an early chapter saved himself from having to endure the narrative to the end.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Never Let Me Go -- now in cinemas

The 2006 Book Club selection, Kauzo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go has been made into a film that will be released today, Sep 15th. says the film "captures the slightly seedy and rundown reality of '70s and '80s British life in astonishing and even tragic detail; this is more like a period piece than a science-fiction movie. In fact, it resembles a Merchant-Ivory tragedy about doomed love in a war zone, except that the doomed love involves human guinea pigs and the war zone is not some tropic zone but the alleged good intentions of medical science."

NPR says of Ishiguro: "Born in Japan and raised in Britain, Ishiguro is fascinated by how people adapt to life in repressive societies. (It's no coincidence that three of his six novels turn on World War II.) Whether home is Never Let Me Go's ominous boarding school or the country estate of a British fascist (as in The Remains of the Day), the novelist's characters do what is expected of them. In the novel, Kathy's final statement is that she drove off "to wherever it was I was supposed to be.""

The film version of Never Let Me Go stars Keira Knightley, who must have an affinity for the Book Club selections. She also starred in the film adaptation of Atonement.