March Madness Ends and normal madness is resumed…
March Madness may well be over, but all that reading has left me way behind on reviews! I did manage to start all my 10 books in March, but unfortunately didn’t manage to finish Point Omega by Don DeLillo. I really pushed myself to read as much as possible this month and I’m delighted to be down into the 720’s already. Many thanks to the wonderful Cedar Station for all the support! I’m quite looking forward to reading at a more leisurely pace and choosing books as and when I feel like reading them. I’m also looking forward to reading some more pleasant books, given the high level of rapes, murders, child abuse, death and in the case of Tampa, several crimes against literature.
So, to round up, here are books 8 and 9 and the madness will spill in to April when I finish 10.
No 727 Race by David Mamet
8/10 of March Madness
In Race, a wealthy white man, accused of raping a black woman, turns to a law firm comprised of two male partners (one white, one black) and a young female, African-American junior associate. Although wary about taking Charles’s case, their hand is forced when their junior associate Susan, who is African American, makes two elementary legal errors. But the action shifts from questions of Charles’s guilt or innocence to internal politics and the issue of whether Susan is a victim of discrimination or the dubious product of affirmative action.
Race feels a bit like the younger sibling of Mamet’s superior Speed-the-Plow with the pair of legal eagles replacing the cynical fast-talking Hollywood producers and a characteristic female neophyte who they really should be keeping a closer eye on before she puts a spoke in these very masculine wheels.
This feels like a play of two halves and the opening scenes which examine the ducking and diving and intellectual power play in the legal profession are much more successful than the attempts to question the audience’s assumptions about race. Mamet does make a good attempt at turning our preconceptions on their head. “Do you know what you can say to a black man on the subject of race?” the apparently affable black lawyer asks the white defendant, a question to which we learn the only correct answer is “nothing”.
But while admiring Mamet’s panache in taking on so fraught a subject, the play does often feel mechanical. Mamet is in danger of seeming provoking rather than provocative. The characters are little more than points of view in this dramatic discussion where the theme is all and though the dialogue is as edgy and compelling as ever, featuring Mamet’s trademark overlaps, backtrackings and repetitions.
Again, I would imagine the play comes to life more in the performance, this video of the original Broadway production starring James Spader and Kerry Washington certainly suggests there were more laughs on stage than on page but for me, this is a play of ideas that never really engages the heart.
Read On: Book
Number Read: 20
Number Remaining: 726
No 726 Revenge by Yoko Ogawa
March Madness 9/10
What is it with me and books you feel like reading with one eye closed?
Hotel Iris is the story of Mari, a 17-year-old young woman who works for her tyrannical mother in a hotel by the sea. She meets an older man, a translator of Russian novels, who lives on an island and is rumoured to have murdered his wife. They start a relationship based on dominance and sado-masochistic violence yet they love each other.
“It occurred to me that I had never heard such a beautiful voice giving an order,” Mari thinks. “It was calm and imposing, with no hint of indecision. Even the word ‘whore’ was somehow appealing.”
Hotel Iris is reluctantly compelling. Ogawa is skilled at writing beautifully even about ugly, violent things and is a master at creating mood. The story is outside of time and using spare strokes and ingenious, often macabre detail, Ogawa creates a dreamlike narrative that, challenges our sense of security. There is a profound unease in this study of dependency with Mari ruled by an uncaring, tyrannical mother at home, and a domineering, sadistic lover in secret. Mari trades one form of servitude for another. She is a wisp of a girl, seeking her true self through pain and her lack of self awareness is both what draws the reader in and holds us strangely at arm’s length.
The book is as cool as the ocean breeze by the Hotel Iris, giving up no easy answers for why these characters do what they do. It is a story in a beautiful, tender and disturbing world all of its own.
Read On: Book
Number Read: 21
Number Remaining: 725
Uncategorized david mamet Hotel Iris James Spader Kerry Washington march madness race Yoko Ogawa
Cathy746books View All →
I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!
It sounds like you are doing amazingly well!
Thanks! 10 in one month has been a bit much for me. Time to slow down a bit…
I have never read anything by Ogawa, but I just recently read a review for another book of hers that also mentions how beautifully she writes. I’ll put her on my list of authors to try.
I read Revenge last year and immediatly went out and bought all her books. Her stories are disquieting but beautifully so.
“Race” sounds shitty, but I’ve been less and less impressed by Mamet
Me too. Nothing has been that interesting since The Cryptogram. This play is just trying to shock…
I can see how March Madness would leave you with a bunch of reviews hanging over your head. As long as you took good notes, they’ll get done eventually. And you’re going to be down to 700 in no time!
I had hoped to get to the 700s by the end of the year so with 25 to go, looks hopeful!
I nominated you for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award! Check out my award page for more info: http://therapybread.com/awards/
Jess, thanks so much! Hopefully I’ll get to this next week. Appreciate your support x
So many books. You’re simply a machine! Good luck with hitting your goal. I’m sure you’ll do well since you only have a few more to go!
Thanks Jack, I’m actually working backwards so I have 725 to go, so there is a good bit of reading still to do! If I get into the 600’s by the end of the year I’ll be a happy girl!
I’ll be reading one of Ogawa’s other novels soon and I’m looking forward to it!
I’ve also nominated you for a Liebster Award! Check it out: http://samannelizabeth.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/liebster-award-winner-right-here/
Thank you so much! I’ve already done a Leibster Award, but not this one, so I’ll try and get to it. Really appreciate you thinking of me.
I hope you enjoy the Ogawa, let me know what you think….
Congrats on getting so many books read during the Madness. Cedar Station’s challenge came at just the right time. Kicked my reading butt into gear. I hope you reach your goal of 600s by the end of the year. I feel like July would be a great time to have another March Madness type challenge. Thoughts?
Thanks Bree. I’d be totally up for another one this summer, count me in! It really gave me an incentive to read and it’s pretty telling that I’ve only read 3 books in April!!
haha thats funny. I haven’t read that much this month either. I plan to this week though.
I recently read Mamet’s ‘3 War Stories’, stories rather than plays, and found them v difficult. SD
I love his plays Sandra (particularly his early ones) but his prose and essays can be really tough going even for a fan!