My Name is Asher Lev and The Chosen

I did it. I’ve been putting off writing about Chaim Potok for the site, as I just knew I’d end up rereading all the books if I tried. Well, I’ve started. Finished My Name is Asher Lev before the weekend, got majorly frustrated when I realised I don’t have The Gift of Asher Lev (will have to drop by library today), then read The Chosen over the weekend and have now started on The Promise.

Was quite poignant, actually, reading about the conflict between zionists and ultra-orthodox anti-zionists in the States just after WW2 and the discussions and verbal war prior to the establishment of Israel in the UN in The Chosen, what with what’s going on there now. I’m not going to say what I think about that whole mess, though, almost impossible not to offend people and this is not a political column.

Anyway, Potok is heartily recommended.

Odds and ends

Ok, Easter is over and I’m back at work (sigh).

For some reason it has become almost mandatory to read whodunnits at Easter in Norway, so that’s what I’ve been doing. I had a very frustrating time of it, though, as what I like is to be surprised when I get to the end, and this year very few things surprised me.

First, I read Kakerlakkene by Jo Nesbø. It’s a Norwegian one, and I don’t think it’s been translated, so those of you who don’t read Norwegian will just have to ignore this bit. Nesbø is one of my favourite songwriters, so I thought it was about time I checked out his novels, too. And I’m glad I did, too. Very engaging, and beautifully written. Unfortunately, I sort of guessed major parts of the plot way before they happened. Pity. Still, I’m certainly going to read the other Harry Hole books as well.

Right, then I got on to P.D. James’ last novel, Death in Holy Orders. I got rather worried half way through, as the person I thought would be murdered had just been murdered and I thought maybe I knew who’d done it, too. Fortunately, I was proved wrong – I hadn’t guessed the murderer, though I’d sort of guessed the motive. All in all, the end made me very happy (for another reason, too – trying to avoid spoilers here), and I can say that, as usual, P.D. James really has to be read.

I also watched Evil Under the Sun (Agatha Christie) on television, and got the murderer way too early. Very annoying, but the Poirot mini-series are always so throughly enjoyable because of the setting and the people that it didn’t really matter all that much.

Gosford Park is a whodunnit of a sort, too, and I saw that Saturday. Beautifully done, with an amazing cast, wonderful props, costumes and cars, lovely lines abounding and an invaluable addtion to the portayal of upstairs/downstairs life. But again: there were no surprises. It was obvious who the murderer was, how the murder was done and what the motives were. So disappointing. On the other hand, you get Altman’s inimitable touches of reality twisted, so despite the obvious solution it’s a picture well worth seeing. And you never know, you might not think it all too obvious…

Adding to the disappointments, I finished listening to Ian Carmichael reading The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers yesterday. Delightfully read, Lord Peter was lovely company as usual and Sayers isn’t normally one to disappoint. But. I actually guessed at the “murder weapon” in the very first few chapters – granted, by the time the body was found I had forgotten about this (it was a few days later, my time). However, when the puzzle was almost solved but the weapon still a mystery, of course I remembered again. And it was so b****ing obvious! Fair enough, a little specialist knowledge helped, but I can’t believe that Lord Peter (who should, judging from the rest of the story, have more knowledge on the subject than me) would take weeks and even months to come up with the solution. In this case, then, as opposed to the others, the problem wasn’t so much that I guessed the solution, but that the sleuth didn’t. And in some ways I think that’s worse. I really do not want to be steps ahead of Lord Peter. Really.

All in all, as you see, I have been a bit too clever this Easter. Problem is, I don’t really think I’ve been too clever, I think the authors haven’t been clever enough. I still think I’ll read those other Nesbø books, though. And I’ve just started Lord Peter views the Body (same narrator), so I haven’t given up on him, either.

Blue at the Mizzen

blue_mizzenIn which we wave goodbye and say hello.

Finished Blue at the Mizzen yesterday. I had to wave farewell to Jack and Stephen. Desolation Island ain’t innit. I suppose I could start all over again, but first I have to reread Pamela for a course. Lucky for Pamela she’s not a real person, as I think I might have strangled her. I would certainly have drowned Robinson Crusoe, the “hero” (using the term very loosely) of the book we read for the last session. But perhaps he were to be hanged? That would explain why he was so unperishable. I’m looking forward to Shamela, being next on our list. It might possibly reconsole me to Richardson that at least he furnished food for such excellent pulling of legs.

Saw The Shipping News Saturday. What a wonderful film. I have no idea what it was all about, though.

Funny moment Saturday evening: I have a somewhat squewed concept of time, especially as regards my own age. I was 13 last year, I’m sure (at least I don’t feel any older), unfortunately that would make this, uhm, 1988. Which it obviously isn’t. Anyway, was out with a friend and we went to TGI Fridays. They had a sign saying you had to be 24 to enter. I actually had to stop: “Am I?” Well, a quick calculation told me I had nothing to worry about. However, earlier in the day we had been to an Irish pub (excellent fish and chips!) where the sign was 20 years. And I had actually hesitated just for a moment…

Funnily enough I never seem to forget that I’m above legal drinking age, though.

The bottle stands by you, sir.