Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It's All in the Name

After a few false starts with Dickens’ Martin Chuzzlewit, I find that I now can’t wait to listen to more.  It was so hard to get going on this one as it was all in the names, I couldn’t ‘get into them’ – I mean ‘Pecksniff’, ‘Slime’, ‘Chuzzlewit’ ……….

To help me get over it, I decided to get the BBC production out of the library to help me visualise these miserable characters, their dress and setting – and what a joy it has been to watch. My first impression was that Tom Wilkinson was miscast as Pecksniff – he didn’t look at all how I imagined.  I was visualising an older, willowy, wrinkled and grey haired man.  But, no matter – Wilkinson obviously revelled in his portrayal of this well to do low-life that he now seems perfect for the role.  I love the scene where he is waiting in the woods for Mary - as she passes by he leaps out from the trees and the movement is like something from a Nightmare before Xmas – it’s an absolute classic. 

Most of the scenes from America are missing in the series, though the major points are related by letter.  That was a wise omission by the writers as I am finding the American plot rather boring and wishing myself back in the company of the scheming Pecksniff even though I abhor the man!

Of all the characters I loathe the most; it has to be Jonas Chuzzlewit.  Again, in the production the actor has him off to a ‘T’.   This is a man who begrudged his wealthy father’s life because he lived ten years beyond the allotted three score and ten, keeping him from his inheritance.  A boozer and a wife beater – he just has it all in the personality stakes…… not.  I can’t wait to see what the plot is going to do to this poor excuse for a man.

I’m not going to give the story away on this one, if you don’t think you’d bother reading the novel, but you do like Dickens or the classics then I would fully recommend the BBC series. 

My physical read at the moment is Victor Pelevin’s The Sacred Book of the Werewolf.  Obviously it was the title that caught my attention, but really this is not a horror novel and it’s being narrated by a ‘fox’ though I do believe we will meet a werewolf somewhere within the pages.  Translated from the Russian, this is apparently a satire on modern day Russia. 75 or so pages in, I am finding it very entertaining, and it is certainly different from my past Russian reads J

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