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02 August 2009 @ 07:36 pm
Orlando, Virginia Woolf

Phew. I do think one Virginia Woolf a year is quite sufficient.

I don't often say 'the film was better'. In fact, the only time I've said it before was in regards to Stardust - and you all know my feelings on Gaiman. The film Orlando, which I saw over ten years ago and thus of which I retain only the haziest memory, made something ominous of the fact that Orlando lived for about three million years and changed sex and ran out of money. Whereas book!Orlando never seems troubled by anything. Or, I should say, by anything real. She's beautiful, she doesn't age, she's immortal, she has a whole bunch of cash and lands and titles, so I suppose what does she have to worry about except questions like What Is Love? and Nature is Ecstasy?! Really? Yeah, I Wasn't Terribly Convinced Either!

I finished it with a face like this: D:< Also, I had to keep looking at the page numbers to remind myself that yes, I was still on the same page and it didn't seem to be getting any shorter no matter how much of it I read ... every line was interminable.

There were some pretty turns of phrase -

eyes which looked as if they had been fished from the bottom of the sea

Nature, who has played so many queer tricks upon us, making us so unequally of clay and diamonds, of rainbow and granite, and stuffed them into a case, often of the most incongruous, for the poet has a butcher's face and the butcher a poet's;

- but not enough.

He soon perceived, however, that the battles which Sir Miles and the rest had waged against armed knights to win a kingdom, were not half so ardouous as this which he know undertook to win immortality against the English language.

Speaking as one who is in the thrall of the longest dry spell in the history of writing, I say: HELL YES.

For it is a curious fact thatt though human beings have such imperfect means of communication [...] they will yet endure ridicule and misunderstanding rather than keep any experience to themselves.

Imagine! And Virginia lived and died decades before the advent of reality television and internet blogging. This prediction shows some greatness of mind.

"[...] Why not simply say what one means and leave it?"

I dunno, V, you tell me.

A silly song of Shakespeare's has done more for the poor and the wicked than al the preachers and philanthropists in the world.

I'd have to argue in favour of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation here, but that's probably because I have no idea what song she's talking about. And neither, I'm sure, does most of Darfur.

Previously, on Book Glomp 2009:
He Knew He Was Right, Anthony Trollope |The Bostonians, Henry James | For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway | For Esme - with Love and Squalor, JD Salinger | The Outsider, Albert Camus | The Princess Diaries: Ten out of Ten, Meg Cabot | The Vicar of Bullhampton, Anthony Trollope | Molesworth, Geoffrey Willans | Villette, Charlotte Bronte | The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James | The Way of All Flesh, Samuel Butler | Cecilia, Fanny Burney | The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger | The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark | Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut | Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann | Siddhartha, Herman Hesse | The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga | The Duke and I, Julia Quinn | Brave New World, Aldous Huxley | North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell | Cider with Rosie, Laurie Lee | Catch-22, Joseph Heller | Bright Shiny Morning, James Frey | Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck | The Demon's Lexicon, Sarah Rees Brennan | The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton | jPod, Douglas Coupland | 'Are these my basoomas I see before me?', Louise Rennison | Faro's Daughter, Georgette Heyer | Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman | The Accidental Sorcerer, K.E. Mills | Ethan of Athos, Lois McMaster Bujold | V., Thomas Pynchon | The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway | The Dragon Keeper, Robin Hobb
down the hills and round the bendsnorton_gale on August 3rd, 2009 04:48 am (UTC)
Agreed: Orlando is one of the few instances in which the film was much better than the book!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: collapsingnight odds&endsscoradh on August 3rd, 2009 09:48 am (UTC)
I am very tempted to watch it again! Although I fear my chances of finding it are very slim indeed...