Off Topic Art & Literature

Discussion in 'Southampton' started by Beddy, Nov 26, 2019.

  1. West Kent Saint

    West Kent Saint Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3,802
    Likes Received:
    1,454
    Not sure if anyone has seen Mystery Road the series. Its good, but the films (Amazon) are better in my opinion, more stripped back and essentially Aussie westerns. I think they are beautifully filmed, and I really like Aaron Pederson the part aboriginal lead. Loved the bright colours of Australia during the darkness here when watched.
     
    #681
    Kaito, The Ides of March and davecg69 like this.
  2. Beddy

    Beddy Plays the percentage

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Messages:
    9,427
    Likes Received:
    2,468
    sorry wrong button!!!
     
    #682
  3. Beddy

    Beddy Plays the percentage

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Messages:
    9,427
    Likes Received:
    2,468
    Have gone against my usual trend and have downloaded the Harry Potter books. My grandchildren are delighted and excited they managed to persuade me to do this. Then I find out why.........it is so when I baby sit my great grandchildren they are able to listen to the story with me!!!!!!
     
    #683
  4. The Ides of March

    The Ides of March Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2011
    Messages:
    10,828
    Likes Received:
    3,430
    The Secret Scripture – Sebastian Barry

    For anyone interested in the power of institutions such as Governments and the State Church, this novel covers themes including prejudice, illegitimacy, mental health and sexism, and thus makes it a compelling read. It is written using the first person of the two main characters that feature throughout the book, Roseanne and Doctor Grene.

    Roseanne is an elderly patient who has spent two-thirds of her life in a mental hospital. Doctor Grene is the psychiatrist, who goes to see her every day and wants to fathom out why she was put here in the first place. Not only does he consult Roseanne, but as she is not really forthcoming in revealing too much, he gets snippets of information from other places where she has stayed during her time institutionalised.

    Roseanne has a diary in which she keeps not only a daily journal of her meetings with Doctor Grene, but it also includes a very personal and private information which charts her earlier life as a child with a father who was Church of Ireland and who met underlying prejudices when seeking work in the new state of Ireland. It also features her marriage to Tom McNulty which was later annulled by the Church, her treatment from those she knew and who she thought she could trust when she got pregnant (as it turned out by her brother-in-law)

    Doctor Grene is the psychiatrist and he also keeps a journal of his daily meeting with Roseanne, as well as those meeting with people who are in a position that might reveal why Roseanne was committed to the mental hospital in the first place. The person who does have her committed is a priest, whose words at the time were sacrosanct. As the good doctor gradually unfolds the truth, the reader is then left to question if the priest did the right thing after all, because at the time what hope was there for a woman who had got herself pregnant out of wedlock, as there were precious little support services in the emerging “Free State of Ireland” as it was known in the years after the British withdrawal, apart from that provided by the all-powerful Catholic Church in Ireland.

    I would recommend this book to anyone who likes an intriguing tale spoken in the voice of the two main characters. You are there involved with them as they recall their experiences. And if you have any Irish ancestry, you might relate to what it was like living in the wake of the British withdrawal from Ireland in the 1920s and 1930s, to the politics of that period and beyond up to the 1990s, until the country had freed itself from the shakles of Catholicism, to the geography of the Sligo and Roscommon área, and to the events as told through the eyes of those involved.
     
    #684
    davecg69 likes this.
  5. Ian Thumwood

    Ian Thumwood Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Messages:
    2,121
    Likes Received:
    1,939
    Finished the last Bernie Gunther thriller this weekend and have now read all 13 novels in Philip Kerr's series. I have really enjoyed these books which ostensibly deal with a detective working in Nazi - era Germany but also include elements leading to the Nazi's gaining power as well as the repercussions including the entry of Greece in to the EEC in 1957. The final volume for me, "A quiet flame" deals with the community of Nazi war criminals residing in Peron's Argentina in 1950 and sheds a good deal of light on Argentina's complicity with the dubious ex-pats from Germany.

    Of the 13 books, I think only two really underwhelmed and these dealt with the bribery of author Somerset Maugham and tried to be a spy thriller whereas one of the earlier books in the series looked at American organised crime involvement in Batista-era Cuba. For my money, Kerr was best when he placed his character in to the murky world of 1930s and 40s Germany where his historical knowledge permitted some extremely clever plots. I never really considered detective novels to by that great but I think Kerr's use of sharp dialogue and wisecracks made his character Bernie Gunther perhaps the most empathetic figure I have read in modern fiction. Shame that he passed away too soon and that the change in fortunes for Bernie mooted in the penultimate novel was never realised. Also a shame that we never really learned about how Bernie solved the case of Gormann the strangler which is constantly referred to in the books as his shining moment. Still waiting to see if HBO develop a series having bought the screen rights.
     
    #685
    Kaito and The Ides of March like this.
  6. rednright

    rednright Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2011
    Messages:
    800
    Likes Received:
    321
    John Le Carre for me
     
    #686
  7. The Ides of March

    The Ides of March Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2011
    Messages:
    10,828
    Likes Received:
    3,430
    Now tell us about a John Le Carre book that you have read and what you enjoyed about it, please!!!
     
    #687
  8. ChilcoSaint

    ChilcoSaint Lives in a Chilcohüttl
    Forum Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Messages:
    30,611
    Likes Received:
    24,591
    Sorry to jump in, but I read “A Delicate Truth” recently, one of his later novels. It’s about the modern, “outsourced” style of black ops, and it dwells on the human consequences of a botched assassination attempt. Absolutely, stunningly brilliant in its characterisations, the plot development, and the denouement. Highly recommended.

    They’re all brilliant though, and there’s plenty to choose from. Start with “The Spy Who Came In From The Cold” and work through, if you want the full Smiley saga, or jump in with a standalone novel like “”The Night Manager” or “The Constant Gardener”, both of which I also highly recommend.
     
    #688
    The Ides of March likes this.
  9. The Ides of March

    The Ides of March Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2011
    Messages:
    10,828
    Likes Received:
    3,430
    Gracias a ti! I feel it is more productive to comment on the creative arts than football at the moment. I shall look in.my favourite book shop here.
     
    #689
  10. ChilcoSaint

    ChilcoSaint Lives in a Chilcohüttl
    Forum Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Messages:
    30,611
    Likes Received:
    24,591
    A good book will never, ever, let you down.
     
    #690

  11. The Ides of March

    The Ides of March Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2011
    Messages:
    10,828
    Likes Received:
    3,430
    When I having a six month sabbatical in Argentina, even a bad book didn't let me down.
     
    #691
    ChilcoSaint likes this.
  12. Ian Thumwood

    Ian Thumwood Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Messages:
    2,121
    Likes Received:
    1,939
    When I was a teenager, I loved Len Deighton's books and Le Carre always seemed like a stem up for me. I have read a couple. "A perfect spy" is excellent and that was made into a good BBC series back in the 1980s. From recollection, this book was semi-autobiographical and was a really good story. I particularly like the con-man father. More recently I read "The night manager" which was ok although I was surprised just how much of an improvement on the story the BBC adaptation was. The difference is quite startling with male characters in the book become female on the TV and liberties were taken with the plot. For me. the biggest disappointment was the ending which Le Carre just allowed to peter-out without much resolution. By contrast, the BBC script concluded with an excellent double-cross.

    I think that the spy novel is a strange oeuvre. For much of the 1990s and 2000s, it did not seem to be relevant and very much a relic of the Cold War. It is only more recently that they seem more prescient. Le Carre is often billed as being pretty accurate to the real world of spying and a repost to Ian Fleming's "James Bond." I find Fleming really uneven and atrocious at his worst. ("Live and let die" was re-written when Roald Dahl produced the script for the film because it was so bad.) By contrast, I always had the impression that Le Carre's books more at a glacial pace. Deighton would seem like a compromise between the two but I have not read any of his books for about 30 years. I think the quality of Le Carre's prose will ensure his work retains it's value for posterity.

    The understated nature of spying was a feature of Le Carre but I wonder if anyone read Ian McEwan's spy novel "Sweet tooth" which was about a promising author recruited by a spy master to produce anti-Soviet fiction /article for magazines to counter the left wing bias of writers in the period of the 1970s when it was set. I love McEwan's writing but this was a strange novel as it was not really about spying but how spies interfered with the media, in this case to the detriment of the reputation of the writer when it is unmasked where he gets his funding from. The left wing arts world then turns on him. As ever, the writing was good but the plot seemed quite pedestrian until the last third when it picked up. It was only in the last chapter that it is ultimately revealed that what you have read up until that point is not what you thought you had been reading. (Which I will not point out if anyone is tempted to read this book.) I felt that it was a really clever trick but one which meant that you cannot re-read the book because the whole point of it is the very satisfying twist at the end.

    I am back to reading history books at the moment and have one of the go about the Roman Army but have a couple of novels to pick up later. Samanta Schweblin's "Little eyes" will up next after this. (Correct spelling of her name.)
     
    #692
    The Ides of March likes this.
  13. Ian Thumwood

    Ian Thumwood Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Messages:
    2,121
    Likes Received:
    1,939
    Dave

    If you want to try the Phillip Kerr series about Bernie Gunther, I think you can safely start with any of them although, for my money, the first three which come as a single "Berlin Noir" trilogy are amongst the best. (March Violets, The Pale Criminal and A German Requiem were written in the early 1990s and are the better written novels albeit the darkest.) The last of these actually deals with the aftermath of the Nazis whereas the other two are set pre-War.

    Kerr returned to the character in 2006 and I think the fourth book which is called "The one from other" is the best plot of the lot and concerns the escape lines for Nazi war criminals. However, the plot evolves from a missing person case to something totally unexpected. As far as the Weimar Republic is concerned, it gets mentioned a lot in the series but only "A quiet flame" and "Metropolis" are set in this period with the latter being the final book in the series. They are all hugely readable, but the best stories in my opinion are "The one from the other", "Prussian Blue" , "The lady from Zagreb" and "A man without breath." What interested me was that they are often based on a lot of truth and incorporate many genuine historical characters.Many of the plots centre around little known issues such as the proposed invasion of Switzerland. You also start to appreciate that Bernie's nemesis Arthur Nebe was a genuine character.

    The books are very well researched and I suppose the lead detective does owe a lot to Raymond Chandler in the fact that the dialogue is what makes the books so compelling. Of the thirteen novels, the first five are excellent and they then become quite varied in style in order to keep the books fresh . Some are in two parts and others flit between different time periods. The first three have a liner narrative. It is also quite amusing when the books become a sort of homage to other authors such as Agatha Christie in "Prague Fatale" and Ian Fleming in "Greeks bearing gifts." The only one which is not very good is "the other side of silence" which is really a novella about British spies where nothing really happens. Apart from the history and dialogue, the books have some good twists in them.

    You can find out more from the website here..

    BernieGunther.com

    Trust that this helps.

    Cheers

    Ian
     
    #693
    davecg69 likes this.
  14. davecg69

    davecg69 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Messages:
    5,048
    Likes Received:
    5,581
    Thanks, Ian. I’ll have a gander. Quite fancy these. Just finished series 2 of Babylon Berlin and keen to get the 3rd and 4th series, but can’t find them. I’ve looked on the net and it says they’re on Netflix, but I’m unable to find them there. I <ahem> downloaded series 1 & 2 with English subtitles, but there’s no sign of series 3 or 4.
    If anyone can help that would be great! Cheers!
     
    #694
  15. Che’s Godlike Thighs

    Che’s Godlike Thighs Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    Messages:
    7,190
    Likes Received:
    9,572
    Been making my way steadily through them over the last year or two. Just finished the fifth one (Order of the Phoenix). They are really quite fun to read. Will start the next one as soon as I finish the Isaac Asimov Foundation trilogy.
     
    #695
    Beddy and davecg69 like this.
  16. Beddy

    Beddy Plays the percentage

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Messages:
    9,427
    Likes Received:
    2,468
    Must admit am on the final part of book six “The half blood Prince”. All so much better than the film. Much more intriguing. Probably on book seven tomorrow..
     
    #696
  17. Che’s Godlike Thighs

    Che’s Godlike Thighs Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    Messages:
    7,190
    Likes Received:
    9,572
    Haven’t ever watched the films but definitely will check them out when done with books.
     
    #697
  18. Beddy

    Beddy Plays the percentage

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Messages:
    9,427
    Likes Received:
    2,468
    Just finished the “The deathly hallows” the last of the Potter books. Any one that hasn’t read or listened to the series. I can certainly recommend the books. Excellently narrated better in my opinion by far to the film which to me left more than half of the story out!!!
     
    #698
  19. Beddy

    Beddy Plays the percentage

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Messages:
    9,427
    Likes Received:
    2,468
    Has any one read any of the Isaac Asimov books? What is your opinion of them if you have?
     
    #699
    Schrodinger's Cat and davecg69 like this.
  20. Che’s Godlike Thighs

    Che’s Godlike Thighs Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    Messages:
    7,190
    Likes Received:
    9,572
    Im just about to start the final book of Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy. The premise of the books is interesting enough, and worth a read just for that. The plot jumps quite regularly from one generation of characters to the next and the first two books have already covered 300 years. So you can’t get too attached to the characters unfortunately. But the flip-side of that is that there are a whole load of characters to read about and the plot never lingers for too long in any one place. Personally I’m still really enjoying it. The books are short, so it won’t take you long to get through them.

    At the moment I still prefer Dune though. Haven’t read much more sci-if than that.
     
    #700
    Schrodinger's Cat likes this.

Share This Page