Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Recent literary review: People of the Book and The LIght Between Oceans

I finished the first on Sunday, and went to see the movie the same afternoon.

For me to have read the whole book shows I liked it, because I am not above setting aside novels I am half-way through because I just don't want to spend the time on them anymore.  My time is precious, and reading a novel takes me days. So that is a plus for Geraldine Brooks' book, the first of hers I have read.  On the other hand, it was anachronistic in a lot of ways. By that, the characters of the past were just too modern in their thinking and speech and actions.  There was the obligatory lesbian affair, lots of inconsistencies on religious practice, and some places where I raised my eyebrows.  It wasn't deep, but I couldn't put it down.  Would I recommend it?  I stopped recommending things a long time ago. But I thought the historical details about art, if not pure history, were fascinating.

As far as the movie goes, it was slow and contrived.  I got tired of its pace half way through and just wanted it to end.  Too many long shots of the ocean, zooming into the island (although the scenery was splendid).  Too many long silent close-ups.  Too many repeated scenes of everyday life.  It was half an hour too long, at least, such that one loses sight of the real conflict, which was sort of interesting if really implausible in its origins, if one thinks about it.  Why did the German get on the boat with an infant?  How did the baby survive?  How the boat appear on their island at just the right time?  How did Tom happen to see Hannah at the grave at just the right moment? Who is the bad guy?  Definitely not Tom, except for not putting his foot down.  His wife?  Well, they did save the baby's life, but Isabel was a total control freak from the first time she met Tom.  Hannah?  She wanted the wife to be disloyal to her husband in order to get the child.  It was good to see Bryan Brown in a movie; he sort of saved the day.

So, I have to stay away from long movies and novels for a while! 

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