Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Books and Movies

Just finished reading Henning Mankell's The Man Who Smiled. He is a Swedish writer. This novel was not one of his best, although I read it through. It was written some time ago and only recently translated. I really love Mankell's recreation of the Swedish landscape and his main character Kurt Wallander, a cop who does things his own way and has a messed up private life. Yet in the end he usually finds the bad guy. Try some of his earlier novels and see what you think--if you like mysteries that is.

Am also reading Hilary Mantel's novel Beyond Black. I love Mantel's writing and have read a number of her books. Her settings, characters and stories are bizarre to say the least. This book is about Alison, an overweight fortune teller and her teeny business partner Colette. Alison has various spirit guides all of whom are departed. Although she has psychic powers, what she presents to the public in her shows is pure hokum. She doesn't tell them what she is really seeing. Mantel's world view is dark if not macabre. But somehow I love her. The books are well written and....different.

I recently saw the movie Babel. I was totally taken in by the film. It is beautifully conceived and shot. Four interconnecting stories taking place in Mexico, Morocco (rural) and Tokyo. It is about the power of guns, in this case one gun and one bullet. Also the differences in "power" between the rich and the poor. How the poor and inarticulate lack heft in our world. The movie moved me greatly.

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