This post was supposed to be up in the first week of April. But as with most things that were supposed to have been and and yet not be, here we are. 

March had provided for me quite an unexpected amount of stirring encounters with both books and films. 

The books:

Cassandra ATW
First 5 star read of the year for me. Didn’t expect to love it as much as I did, but love it I did!

She sighed, and after a while she said rather easily: ‘You mean you’ll be burned up if I get married.’ First tactlessness, then callousness. Nine months in New York had not increased my sister’s sensitivity. There was no way to answer. I lay there in all the heat and wondered what it is that gets lovely simple things so knotted and gnarled up. What makes mistletoe move in on a tree and take over, what made the wild cells move in on Jane Edwards; why do weeds flourish and flowers give up? Why does papa have to prefer drinking alone on a ranch to the entrenched inanities of the university world? Where is there to go? Or barring that, where can you hide?

Stars (Emma D)
A second 5 star experience with this one. Donoghue’s brilliant storytelling pulled me right smack into the 1918 flu pandemic situation in Dublin, which feels uncannily relatable to the pandemic situation of today, a century forward. Didn’t realize that the word “influenza” came from the Latin, to mean “the influence of the stars”. What a dreamy connotation to such a grim state of reality.

On the landing yesterday’s poster hooked my attention ‘Would they be dead if they’d stayed in bed?’ I had an impulse to rip it down, but that probably constituted conduct unbecoming to a nurse, as well as treason. ‘Yes, they’d be bloody dead,’ I ranted silently. ‘Dead in their beds or at the kitchen table eating their onion a day. Dead on the tram, falling down in the street, whenever the bone-man happened to catch up with them. Blame the germs, the unburied corpses, the dust of war, the circulation of wind and weather, but Lord God Almighty, blame the stars, just don’t blame the dead, because none of them wished this on themselves.”

And the government’s advice to the public seems not to have changed very much in over a hundred years. :p

PUBLIC IS URGED TO STAY OUT OF PUBLIC PLACES SUCH AS CAFÉS, THEATRES, CINEMAS, AND PUBLIC HOUSES. SEE ONLY THOSE PERSONS ONE NEEDS TO SEE. REFRAIN FROM SHAKING HANDS, LAUGHING, OR CHATTING CLOSELY TOGETHER. IF ONE MUST KISS, DO SO THROUGH A HANDKERCHIEF. SPRINKLE SULPHUR IN THE SHOES.

IF IN DOUBT, DON’T STIR OUT.

🙂

As from films (or rather, one film in particular):

World
This exceeded all expectations and came away with full marks on all fronts. Has one of the best closing scenes I’ve come across in a while, and the haunting music score lingers on…. long after the credits rolls.

“I can’t imagine what more we could do for one another, with our constraints.
“You can’t?”
“I can’t.”
“Well then… it’s a good thing we remember that our imaginations can always be cultivated.”

I almost wanted to end the post on that beautiful note, but just realized that I haven’t mentioned about what I have “rather loathed” in April.

Well, maybe ‘loathed’ is a stronger word than what Henry James’ Wings of the Dove deserved. It was more like an annoying, neverending frustration, trying to get through the book. After the first couple of chapters, I had to resort to listening to the audiobook for the rest of it, letting it play on like some background music.

Admittedly, there were some sparkling lines in there somewhere (and Juliet Stevenson was a pleasure to listen to, as always), but then my patience was just too much tested overall in the whole Jamesian experience.

Safe to say, it won’t be anytime soon before I decide to pull out another one of his books (and I do have quite a few waiting in the stacks, I’m afraid.) :p

Any Henry James fans out here? 🙂

5 thoughts on “Much loved in March (…. and rather loathed in April!)

  1. I had to read Portrait of a Lady for a lit course and found it so so slow. Second time around it was more interesting. Though I’ve gone on to read two of his shorter works, I can’t say I’m a fan

    Liked by 1 person

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