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Joe McWilliams



Joined: 10 Feb 2012
Posts: 692


Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2016 5:11 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

Speaking of Strangers on a Bridge, I'm reading it because its recent adaptation to film - Bridge of Spies - impressed me so much. Mark Rylance's understated brilliance as the Soviet spy Rudolf Abel was particularly impressive. Tom Hanks as his lawyer and eventual friend too.

The book drags a bit. Too much legal/courtroom stuff for my liking. The film cut out the boring parts, as films do, and added a few dramatic episodes that aren't in the book.


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Castorboy



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1798


Location: Castor Bay Auckland NZ

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Same as chris, I found the TV images were too clearly imbedded in my brain, particularly the acting of Tim Piggott-Smith and Art Malik noticed by Joe, to read the novel. I have always looked forward to watching them in other roles. I feel I should read the novel after all these years so have requested TJITC from the library which I am hoping will arrive at the weekend.


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Joe McWilliams



Joined: 10 Feb 2012
Posts: 692


Location: Canada

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Further on this theme, I watched A Passage to India last night. The scenery was nice, but otherwise I found it annoying and unconvincing. Some of the characters were impossible to believe - mere caricature. And yet (I read) critics were falling all over themselves in praise of David Lean when it came out. I found it comical and stupid. It deals with the same themes as The Jewel in the Crown, but with an irritating ham-fistedness.
Had I watched it in 1984, I'm sure my reaction would have been quite different.


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chris-l



Joined: 27 Nov 2008
Posts: 731



PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Castorboy wrote:
Same as chris, I found the TV images were too clearly imbedded in my brain, particularly the acting of Tim Piggott-Smith and Art Malik noticed by Joe, to read the novel. I have always looked forward to watching them in other roles. I feel I should read the novel after all these years so have requested TJITC from the library which I am hoping will arrive at the weekend.


Good to know you will be joining us, Castorboy. I am making quite slow progress at the moment, as this week is half term holiday for our schools and I have been caring for the three middle grandchildren . I am finding that Paul Scott has a very clever way of building up the tension, so you know that the coming events are not going to be fun, but you are not quite sure how and when the inevitable violence will break out. Currently, I am into a long monologue from Lady Chattergee, who I remember as one of the more sympathetic characters from the TV series. Here, she seems more ambivalent, although I still identify quite strongly with her.

Only one week to go until I abandon TJITC for less weighty tomes when I go off on holiday, so I am sure that you will have overtaken me before I get back.


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Castorboy



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1798


Location: Castor Bay Auckland NZ

PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

chris-l wrote:
I am making quite slow progress at the moment, as this week is half term holiday for our schools and I have been caring for the three middle grandchildren.

Make the most of it, chris. Three of our grandchildren are teenagers and have put away childish things – the smart phone rules. Oh, dear.

With TJITC the Miss Crane chapter gives the background with the prejudices of class and race, in both English and Indian cultures, along with historical facts to prepare for the rest of the novel (a process that brought home to me a few truths about life in NZ, something I wasn’t expecting when I began). Edwina thinks she can do good by educating deprived children but finishes up by realising her lack of knowledge about the Indian way of life is hampering her. I am just about to start on the second chapter.

Today we celebrate the Queen’s birthday and a Maori tribal leader has called for the North Island land wars of the 19th century to be commemorated. Fifty years ago that request would have been unheard of. Without going into more detail, it could be said that it has taken nearly 200 years for colonialism to be discussed in a reasonable manner instead of creating friction. If the English occupation of India lasted closer to 300 years, despite the bloodshed and disruption caused, was colonialism really the disaster it is fashionable to believe?
Political questions, I know – that’s how a novel can take you unawares.


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Castorboy



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1798


Location: Castor Bay Auckland NZ

PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joe wrote on May 31st
Quote:
One reason it's challenging is the author's penchant for lengthy passages presented in the form of reports from a distance (in time, at least) from the events being described. I find I long for dialogue, but page after page none appears. It is certainly rich in atmosphere, but I feel disengaged - as if viewing the story from a distance, rather than being involved.

Joe, I found the third chapter easier to understand when I realised it was an account of Daphne’s experiences told from another point of view. Here there is a repetition of the facts fleshed out with more opinions from Sister Ludmila. They echo Lady Chatterjee’s account in a slightly disapproving way, and I wonder if this is due to their Western education. Both women have an idea that certain standards of behaviour are required from young women new to, in this case, India. This involves matters of etiquette, social politeness, making allowances for other people’s faults, and an awareness of local customs before becoming entangled with the Indians.
There is also repetition in the characters of Edwina and Daphne. Both have been left without their parents and other family members in their early twenties or late teens respectively, both have an English education, they are insure what to do in life, are emotionally immature, and have fixed ideas of the people they come in contact with. It is inevitable that both will end up in dangerous situations. So after reading the three chapters I want to hear what the Indian characters’ attitudes are to the westerners occupying their country. I’d like to hear from say Gulab Singh Sahib, the pharmacist, Mr de Souza of the Sanctuary, or sub-inspector Rajendra Singh, for example. It needs a different perspective to balance what has been shown earlier.  

I wasn’t sure who Lady Chatterjee was addressing in the Macgregor House chapter; I assumed it was the reader. Subsequently it turns out to be possibly a reporter, a relative, or an interested party who has returned to Mayapore after eighteen years to investigate what really happened at Bibighar Gardens. Hence her request that Daphne’s letters be returned to her after he’s finished with them. He may also be a friend of Sister Ludmila’s as she tells him that it was good of him to come again so soon. I had to read the beginning of An Evening at the Club for the penny to drop when Lady Chatterjee is admitted with her house-guest. Maybe his identity is being concealed for dramatic purposes.


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Joe McWilliams



Joined: 10 Feb 2012
Posts: 692


Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Castor - yeah, I wasn't always even sure in that section who was doing the addressing, let along who was being addressed. Well into The Day of the Scorpion now, those early difficulties seem insignificant. The storytelling style has changed too - just as well as far as I'm concerned.
Merrick has just re-entered the story, accompanied by a faint whiff of sulphur.


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Castorboy



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1798


Location: Castor Bay Auckland NZ

PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now that I am used to the long passages and minimum dialogue the novel has become addictive. There is so much to take in that I am spending thirty minutes over five pages. Scott may use 1000 words but the pictures he conjures up in my imagination are very pleasing.


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Castorboy



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1798


Location: Castor Bay Auckland NZ

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Jewel is a great read – I can’t really add anything new about a novel which has been praised in many reviews over the years. In popular terms it is a page turner, has well drawn characters, and a flowing narrative which left me looking forward to the next volume in the series. Scott knows his material comprehensively and can deal with complex incidents. I would like to start The Day of the Scorpion straight away but feel it would be fair to wait to hear the views of chris.


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Joe McWilliams



Joined: 10 Feb 2012
Posts: 692


Location: Canada

PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2016 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, when will Chris reappear? According to my calculations, she departed on holiday June 9. Didn't say where she was going. Surely not India? If so, all is forgiven : )

I'm afraid I can't wait for her. I'm just finished The Towers of Silence and will begin A Division of the Spoils this evening. The devil drives, as they say, and I must be on my way.



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