Together in Spirit

An online reading group ('TIS a reading group!) to bring together friends, and friends of friends, who aren't able to be in a conventional reading group due to constraints of time or geography.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Suitably long?

Hooray! Have finally finished A Suitable Boy. Yes, it will definitely rate as a favourite. I will not dwell on a review as so much has been said about it so far, suffice to say that amongst the politics, religion and geography, it was a fascinating slant on the perennial problem of what makes a suitable marriage prospect. Passion versus practicality, Heathcliffe versus Edgar Linton , Mr Rochester versus St John Rivers etc. I was also worried that having spent so long reading it the ending might disappoint. I am not someone who just likes to read a book for the journey it takes you on, I need a decent destination to arrive at at the end and A.S.B gave both. However, I did get fed up with innumerable rhyming couplets which I did not think added anything to the characters or plot and wish that Seth had saved his poetic outpourings for The Golden Gate.

I had many comments from people who saw the book on my coffee table about the size of the book and how amazing that someone could write so much. I certainly like a long novel as you feel you get to live with the characters and I shall certainly miss Lata et al of an afternoon. It is said of Jean Rhys that she spent years finely tuning Wide Sargasso Sea and it certainly reads like a tightly crafted piece of work. Might it be that the finely honed slim volume takes more skill?

Continuing the book versus film theme, I watched Ladies in Lavender the other day. A lovely, gentle film with superb character portrayals by the great Dames (Judy and Maggie). This was not plot-driven so much as character-based but I still thought it worked very well as a film. It is supposedly based on a short story and I wondered if anyone had read it and could comment on how the film compared?

As to the top authors, I don't think I have read enough of any one author to be able to compile a list. As a teenager I read anything and everything by an author I liked to an almost fanatical extent and as a result I have veered to the opposite extreme. This has been encouraged by my husband's philosophy that there are far too many good books out there just to stick to one author. I know this will sound like heresy to some (Valerie?).