Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pirates, Buttons, Cairns and Whos

After the fabulousness that was The Graveyard Book, I've had a few clunkers.
I attempted to read "The Pirate's Daughter", a fictional account of Errol Flynn's escapades in Jamaica in the middle of the 20th century, by Margaret Cezair-Thompson. I should have read the New York Times review first. The characters were flat and uninspiring, and while the story was mostly believable, I gave up a little over half-way through.
Basic plot summary: Flynn indulges himself and the girl who has had a crush on him for years by sleeping with her, and then ignores her once she becomes pregnant. The first part of the book is leading up to this, and then moves on to what happens to the girl (and the baby). By that point I'd stopped caring. Errol Flynn is a distinctly unsympathetic character, and the girl isn't really bright enough to make smart choices. It was a Richard and Judy Summer Read, which should have meant that it was a swashbuckling romance (which is what it said on the cover). My overall impression was 'mundane soap-opera', sadly. Feel free to correct me if you've read it and it improves in the second half!
On the recommendation of some interwebbies, I got another of Neil Gaiman's YA books from the library: Coraline. It's about a girl who gets fed up with her parents and ends up getting going into a parallel world, where she has to destroy the universe's 'Other Mother' and save her real parents. I didn't think it was as well thought-out as the Graveyard Book, and I'm not going to put it in James' "to read" queue (he loves Graveyard, btw), but it wasn't bad. [Update, after writing this I've found the trailer/website for the new Coraline movie (warning - sound) and it looks much better than the book!]
I'm reading Elizabeth Goudge's "Middle Window" and had a funny thing happen. About 10 pages into the book, "Sarah" is introduced as the main character's "black Cairn". Her introduction comes with the description that she had 'eloped with the butcher's boy for 4 days' and had only just been found and brought back. Somehow this caused me to assume that a Cairn was some kind of turn-of-the-century English word for a particular type of maid. There is a brief mention of how she'd spent a lot of time eating sausages and was feeling rather worse-off for it, which is followed by a scene where she snuggles up to the main character's fiance during a long and dull car journey, both of which I thought were a little odd.
And then, somewhere around page 60 (while I was wondering where this mysterious black servant had gone to), Sarah appears again, curled up in a ball on the foot of the main character's bed, dreaming of chasing rabbits and as a result, emitting muffled barks in her sleep. "Ok," I thought, "this is one weird servant...WAIT A MINUTE...(madly flipping pages)...she's a DOG!"
For those of you who don't know, this is a cairn terrier. I think it was the use of the word 'eloped' that got me.
To get my David Tennant fix while Dr. Who is on hiatus, I rented the 2005 BBC "Casanova", an exceedingly camp miniseries about the famous Italian. As it was written by Russell T. Davies (who has also written the latest series of Dr. Who), I think I was expecting Dr. Who minus the aliens and with a bit more romance. It was...er...not that. I agree with some reviews on IMDB that the music was quite annoying - it seemed to be accentuating the camp-ness of the movie while not actually adding to it. And DT does NOT look hot with a mullet. REALLY not hot. Peter O'Toole was enjoyable as the Older Casanova, but I had trouble connecting the two Casanovas together. The miniseries was enjoyable, though, although I'm glad of several things:
1. I did not have to watch it with my parents (I love you Mom & Dad, but it would have been weird)
2. I did not have to watch it with commercials
3. I had my knitting (and am well on my way up the "left front" panel as a result of three extra hours of knitting)
4. I only had to pay £2 to rent it from the library (althoug this comes with the rider that BECAUSE it was a library DVD there was an epic scratch at the 4:30 mark that rendered it unwatchable and meant that I had to skip to "Chapter 2" and miss 5 minutes of backstory. As long as it was not Hot David Tennant Backstory, I'll be ok.)
5. I've now actually seen it and can move on to something else.
Oh, and Rupert Penry-Jones who I thought could slip into 'Ken-doll Evil Character' at any point during The 39 Steps, was the PERFECT Ken-doll Evil Character (as Casanova's nemesis). Muahaha.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

oh how funny about the 'cairn'
no wonder you were confused for all those pages, still laughing

M x