Monday, April 10, 2017

Manga Hamlet

    Emma Vicelei (illustration) & Richard Appignanesi (text). Manga Shakespeare: Hamlet (2007) Hamlet is one of my favourite plays. This version’s not a script, it’s meant for reading. The adapters have cut the text severely, the effect is a focus on the essence of story and character. The graphics convey what on stage is done with voice and movement. The setting in a post-climate-collapse cyberworld works: almost everything takes place inside a climate-protected, wholly artificial complex. It makes for a claustrophobic ambience that expresses Hamlet’s dilemma.
     The black and white manga style annoys me, though. The opening pages use delicate colour, it would improve the work immeasurably to use the same pallette throughout. Colour makes imagery more readable.
     Nevertheless, for me, this version was a page turner. Well done. ***

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Comments? Ads or not?

     I've noticed a gratifying uptick in traffic to this blog. Thanks to all of you who read it. Please comment. I'd like to know what you like and don't like, and why. I write to please myself, but I also write to be read. I won't change what and how I write, but your comments would certainly help me choose what to publish.
     Google woud like to put ads here. No surpise! If I decide to allow it, I would have some control over the advertising. Please let me know whether placing ads here would be too objectionable to contemplate, or what kinds of ads would be acceptable. The incentive for me is that Google pays. Obviously, the more readers, the higher the pay, so it's tempting.
     I moderate comments, they don't appear automatically. Please indicate if you don't want me to publish your comments.

Don't Sell The House! (Pilgrim’s Rest book review)

     Patricia Wentworth. Pilgrim’s Rest (1946) The Pilgrims have lived at Pilgrim’s Rest for generations. When Major Roger Pilgrim announces his intention to sell, he dies in a riding accident. Robert Pilgrim fears it wasn’t an accident, and that he’s next. He retains Miss Silver to discover the truth. He too dies shortly after he announces he intends to sell.
     And so it goes. In all, there are four deaths, past misdeeds, dysfunctional families, secrets, and the surprise appearance of a key witness who provides the evidence that resolves the case. Miss Silver has done it again! But Patricia Wentworth has not. That surprise witness is brought in because she’s written herself into a corner.
     A pleasant read. Good dialogue, well drawn characters, nicely done reversals. The story is set in 1943, which makes it historical fiction when read now. **

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Death on the Couch (Kate Fansler mystery)

     Amanda Cross. In the Last Analysis (1964) A reread, and worth it. A student asks Prof Kate Fansler to recommend a good psychiatrist and ends up murdered on his couch. Complicated plot, but most of the solution is plain by the middle of the book. Knowing that this is the first Fansler story, I noticed a few things that Cross does better in the later tales, such as dialogue (overlong speeches here), and red herrings (a pale pink here). A good read. I’ve read several of the Fansler stories, and will continue to look for the ones I’ve missed. Fansler is presented as a happy career woman who likes male company but doesn’t need it. The novel ends with Fansler and Amherst Reed sailing to Europe on the same ship. In later episodes, she’s married to him; here, he’s one of several secondary characters providing essential information. **½