Friday, 14 September 2012

Friday Fiction - it's back!

Friday Fiction disappeared for a little while there, partially because I haven't been blogging very much, and partially because I wasn't reading very much - not of note anyway. I don't really see the point of writing up a review of a book I kind of enjoyed in parts but didn't think was that great; some recent 3 star reads include And So It Begins by Jon McGregor, All Teachers Great and Small by Andy Seed, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey, The Rehersal by Eleanor Catton and The Green Dwarf by Charlotte Bronte, which actually was really enjoyable by the end, but when a book is only 100 pages long and 35 of those are just a nothing-y waffle, it drags the whole book down.

That said, in the midst of all of those I read a book which stood out a little more from the crowd. It wasn't a firecracker, and it didn't exactly blow my mind, by A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood is an exceptionally well written novel.

As with Haruki Murakami's novels (which I adore), it's not so much what the story is as how it is told. Nothing much really happens (which, if you've seen it, makes for a bit of a weird film - but again, it's beautifully shot and all the drama is in the nuances), the book, set in 1960s California spans a day in the life of an English, gay (but of course, it's Isherwood darling) college professor, George, dealing with day-to-day life after the death of Jim, his partner, exploring his feelings of grief and isolation, and his brief interactions with friends, students and neighbours. It's hauntingly beautiful at times and incredibly moving, and well worth a read if you value style over content. 8/10.

Colin Firth is really rather good as poor, introspective George in the film too, which also features a mildly surprising, but very noteworthy, appearance from the incredibly British Nicholas Holt as a glowing (literally, he's quite orange) Californian lost soul.

Have a wonderful weekend,

P.S. A Single Man is available to watch on the BBC iPlayer, but only until 11.49pm tomorrow (the 15th) evening, so you'll have to get in quick if you want to catch it!

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