Monday, October 1, 2012

Francine Prose

Francine Prose stands as one of the most versatile authors writing today, but, for the most part, she is an acquired taste.  Her best known works, such as Blue Angel, are dark, and disturbing, but between the lines lies a twisted wit that pops up in the most inappropriate and unexpected passages.  I first discovered her work after reading The Passion of Artemesia by Susan Vreeland.  That book got me interested in the controvercial Renaissance artist named Caravaggio, ultimately leading me to Prose biography of him.

Her latest book The Turning, is a re-telling of Henry James ghost story, The Turn of the Screw, a book which scares the be-jeepers out of me.  Prose has given me the story pared down nicely into a young adult novel, and so I can handle the suspense and the horror - so far anyway. 

Jack is spending the summer babysitting on an isolated island with no contact with either the outside world, or the father of the children he is tending.  In no time he senses oddness in and about the house, seeing figures peering in windows and staring from across the shore.  But, as you can guess, no one else sees them.  In addition to the sightings, the kids he is caring for are far from normal. 

Too much violence, too much blood, too much suspense are generally too much for me, but I will do my best to get to the end.  Concerning too much violence - have you checked out the new TV show called "Revolution"?  Of course, the writers and designers are trying to appeal to devotees of "The Hunger Games" book series, but so far I have been disappointed.  For too many sword fights in which the main character fends off dozens of attackers, and somehow manages to walk off with little more than a scratch.  I get the impression the writers may not have mapped out a very long storyline and are making things up as they go, responding to critics and viewer opinion. 

I also had high hopes for the new PBS series, "Call the Midwives" but there is way too much screaming, pain and blood.  What did I expect with a title like that?   As I watched the first episode last night I kept saying "This is it, I won't watch any more of this series."  The truth is, it's well done, and I have become interested and invested in several of the characters, leaving me no choice but  to DVR the darn show and do my best to power through all the pain. 

Busy week.  I broke a tooth about 15 minutes ago, so that means a visit with Dr. Hansen tomorrow.  I am sure he will be thrilled to see me.  Later in the week I head to Minneapolis for my booksellers' trade show.  I'll let you know how that goes.

Thanks for stopping by.