This month I’ve mainly been concentrating on reducing the 746 so haven’t done too much other reading.
I did very much enjoy Mrs Death Misses Death by Salena Godden which is a wonderfully inventive prose-poem featuring Death as a poor old black woman who is tired of her never-ending work. The book raises really vital questions about the way we live and the way we think about dying and is told with incredible verve and versatility. At some points though, I felt it became a little preachy and some of the poetry wasn’t for me, but overall this is a really fantastic and unique novel. I was also delighted to see a portion of the novel take place in the Curfew Tower at Cushendall which is a mere 10 miles from my house and somewhere we visit regularly!
This month’s movie watching was dominated by thrillers and these were two of the best.
The Assistant is a queasy drama featuring a young assistant working for a Harvey Weinstein-esque figure at a major film production company. The film follows her over the course of one working day as she navigates the insidious atmosphere of bullying and intimidation to which everyone turns a blind eye. Julia Garner gives a star turn with a wonderfully subtle physical performance and her scene with Matthew McFadyen- where she tries to report the behaviour of her boss – is one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve seen for a long time. The Assistant gets its’ power not from showing abuse directly, but from showing an environment that is aware of and tolerates that abuse. Highly recommended.
The Gift is a much more obvious thriller, written, directed and starring Joel Edgerton. Jason Bateman plays Simon, a businessman who has recently moved back to California with his wife Robyn. Joel Edgerton plays Gordo, an old classmate of Simon’s, who starts to infiltrate his way into the couple’s life, with ominous intentions. All three leads are excellent, particularly Rebecca Hall as Robyn, and while it isn’t exactly subtle (particularly the ending) it is certainly very creepy and it is good to see Jason Bateman playing against type for once.
Now that we have finished both Spiral and Call My Agent, we had a French Drama-sized hole which needed to be filled! I heard about The Bureau through interview in The Guardian with Karl Ove Knausgaard who called it some of the best TV he’d ever seen. He’s not wrong. This story of the French Intelligence Agency starring the wonderful Mathieu Kassovitz is absolutely fantastic and well worth checking out.
January is always a slow month for new releases but I did review A Common Turn, the debut album from Anna B Savage for No More Workhorse.
I am really looking forward to the new album from The Staves, coming out next week. If this new single is anything to go by, it’s going to be brilliant.
I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!