Friday, 28 December 2012

A number of novellas

I listened to these while driving around the South African province of Mpumalanga over the course of two months, along with THE AGE OF INNOCENCE, reviewed previously.

ETHAN FROMME
God, what can I say. I read it when I was about fifteen, and I still haven’t recovered. It’s no less painful on a second reading twenty years later.

CRANFORD
A rare case where the TV show is better than the novel. I usually love Elizabeth Gaskell, but this I found a bit sentimental. Yes I blubbed, but I did not respect myself for blubbing. It was interestingly modern, in that it was more a series of interconnected stories than a novel.

FAREWELL
I mean, we know I like the Victorians, but this was too much even for me. It’s a bizarre and sexist novella, in which some woman loses her lover to war. Her last word to him is the creative ‘farewell,’ and the loss is so great she loses her mind, only retaining that one word. The lover survives a Siberian prison, and comes upon her by chance. He is so upset when he cannot make her sane that he decides to kill her, and it all gets more inappropriate from there. The best part was the scene where she loses her lover. It’s during Napoleon’s slow retreat from Russia during the winter, and is unbearably sad, with men so exhausted that they choose to lie down to rest despite the fact that the Russians are coming and they will surely freeze to death.

Thanks to Librivox

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