Jay Gatsby, The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
I think this is where Gatsby, as a person, first moved me. It doesn’t even matter if it’s true.
So today I thought I would
ranttalk to you about one of my favorite novels ever, and why I fear the upcoming film adaptation is going to be horrible.
The topic is quite near-and-dear to me, since its protagonist, Isserley, gave me my online name.
The novel: Under The Skin, by Michel Faber [of The Crimson Petal and the White fame]. I always find it difficult to plug it, because a big part of the attraction is the tension created by not knowing exactly what is going on for a pretty big part of the story. It begins, tantalisingly, with a woman, Isserley, driving around on the Scottish highways, looking for healthy, muscular young men.
Under The Skin appeals to me both for its fantastic protagonist - Isserley, who is more human than she could ever know - as for the themes it brings up: what makes us who we are, how morality clashes with survival, how societal pressure bears down on us all. It’s not very subtle, but manages to be blunt without annoying.
Read more, but beware: spoilers ahead!
Bringing this back because I just went to see the film.
"Based on the book by Michel Faber": huge lie. Only the very abstract concept of "alien-type person preys on human men" was similar, in fact.
As an adaptation, this is officially the worst one I’ve ever seen.
As a movie: I didn’t actually like it either, but:
- perhaps I was too hung up on “I thought you were going to adapt one of my favourite books” and couldn’t get past that.
- it was “bad” in that way that artsy films have sometimes where I wasn’t sure if legit bad or I just didn’t get it.
Ow men clap down on women
T’old em there for good
An soak up all their softness
An lounder em wi blood.
It’s then I think on t’Ripper
An what e did an why,
An ow mi mates ate women,
An ow Pete med em die.
Canadian author Alice Munro is an acclaimed and highly prolific short story author. I’m actually reading a collection of hers right now, and highly recommend her work. Her stories always make me feel sad in that mildly happy way that common humanity themes always do.