Wednesday, December 29, 2010

HOUSEBOUND



Heavy snow and slippery ice followed by a case of "man flu" has meant that I have been housebound for two weeks! I have had my flu jab this year, but whatever it was that has been passed on to me by one of the children has knocked me sideways.
After a lovely family Christmas Eve get together, late the following day I started to feel awful and am still lacking in energy, although today I am feeling a smidgen better.
Therefore some of the items I was going to discuss at length will now wait until next year, or go by default.

During this period on television I watched:

David Suchet in a dark version of Murder on the Orient Express. I am one of those people who don't like television productions to deviate from the plot of the book, but watching David Suchet's performance as Poirot is always a pleasure.

Rolf Lassgard, as Kurt Wallander, in a rather long winded two part adaptation of Henning Mankell's Firewall.

Rolf Lassgard, as Wallander, in the superbly acted episode, One Step Behind. I have to admit that Lassgard's Wallander has grown on me, and it does help that he has such strong support from the rest of the cast. I can well understand how those who saw Lassgard's performance first regard him as the definitive Kurt Wallander.

A BBC4 program on Italian Noir that was interesting but perhaps had too much commentary from experts, and not enough comment by the authors themselves. I hope this program encouraged readers to try the novels of Andrea Camilleri, Carlo Lucarelli Massimo Carlotto, and Leonardo Sciascia [1921-1989] all of whose work I have reviewed on Crime Scraps.
Romanzo Criminale, the film mentioned on the program, based on the novel by Giancarlo De Cataldo, is one of the best crime movies I have seen, and definitely something not to be missed if it appears on television.
The message of this program was that Italian crime writers set their plots in the real world where because of circumstances there might not be punishment for a crime, even when the police can identify the perpetrator. I don't think there was quite enough emphasis on the sometimes competing, and sometimes cooperating, movements that have had so much influence on life in Italy, and especially on Sicily; Communism, Fascism, Catholicism, and Mafia.

Italian Noir novels are usually of a manageable length and get their message across with a little subtlety, and even a degree of obliqueness.
Subtlety is not a word you could associate under any circumstances with the 500 page blockbuster, The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow.
I finished reading this book yesterday, and will produce a review in a few days if I am feeling well enough.
One reviewer on Amazon.com said he wanted to put the book down, and have a long hot shower, a sentiment with which I concurred.
I sometimes wonder if I am the only person who reads these books from cover to cover. It is not masochism, but my naturally optimistic nature, because I simply cannot believe that the story is not going to improve.
This was not quoted in the novel, but I was surprised it was not:

'Poor Mexico, so far from God, and so close to the United States' attributed to Mexican President Porfiro Diaz.

7 Comments:

OpenID petronatwo said...

So sorry you have not been well, Norman, I do hope you recover soon. It must have been hard concentrating on a 500 word-er during that time (even if it had been superbly readable).


Thanks for the update on the TV. I quite liked this version of Wallender but (1) I hated the way they turned the female cop on the team into his insecure girlfriend and (2) I was bored with the plot (it was The Man Who Smiled which I saw), which I've already seen in the Ken Branagh version and read the book. I could not face Firewall or Sidetracked for the same reason, but I might give The Pyramid a go as I haven't yet seen a TV version of that.

I admit to watching half of Romanzo Criminale once and falling asleep - not my cup of tea. But I certainly agree with you about those Italian authors. Pity they missed out Carofiglio who seems to often be under-estimated.

Best wishes
Maxine.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Margot Kinberg said...

Norman - I am sorry to hear you've been sick! I hope you're feeling like yourself soon.

I have to agree with you on both counts about the Poirot series. I'm one of those people, too, who much prefer a filmed story to be as close as possible to the book. On the other hand, I do like David Suchet as Poirot very, very much.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Dorte H said...

I hope you´ll be well soon, and I am glad you have had Lassgård and others to keep you company.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Karen (Euro Crime) said...

I hope the cricket results helped :). I've only watched Murder on the Orient Express so far off your list.

Hope you feel better soon,
Karen

1:38 PM  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Yes, I also (though I didn't see it) am surprised they left out Carofiglio, whose books are terrific, and perfect for curling up while recovering from the flu.

Feel better soon.

And, again, am green with envy at the tv shows over there on crime fiction.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Maxine, Kathy, Margot, Dorte and Karen thanks for all your good wishes.
Maxine- One Step Behind was far better than The Man Who Smiled. I am also surprised they left out Carofiglio, {not Noir?}, and included Baraldi!

Karen-I still have not absorbed the cricket results as even when I was young and we beat Australia three series in a row 1953, 1954-55 and 1956 the Australians were never a weak as they are in this series. As I could not sleep I was able to watch on my cable TV.

Kathy we are lucky with BBC4 at the moment so I do not want you too jealous sobetter not tell you about the cable tv I have which has 24 hour crime fiction; Poirot, Miss Marple, Inspector Alleyn, Taggart, Inspector Lynley, Morse..........oops I just have. ;o)

Margot I just love the way David Suchet uses those little steps to convey so much of the character of Poirot.

2:55 PM  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

What? 24-hour mystery cable tv!

This is definitely a case where England has it hands down over the U.S.

Now, greener with envy.

My only compensation is that the library gets a lot of BBC mysteries, so I'll hope that many more venture overseas--and soon.

Feel better.

12:29 AM  

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