Monday, 23 April 2012

NOVEL - Jasper Jones (Craig Silvey)

This book caught my eye at Kinokuniya one day in 2011 as the guy on the cover reminded me of Lip from Shameless US (ie: Jeremy Allen White) and that was purely the reason why I wanted to read the book.

Then I read the blurb then looked at the price tag of the book and thought '," and put the book back down.

To be honest, it didn't sound that interesting. A bunch of kids in an Australian regional outback town. Okay, no thanks.

(interesting fact: the blurb of this book was in the 2010 School Certificate Paper)

Fast forward to one year later and things have changed greatly. The novel isn't extremely long, but it was able to make me laugh, cry and make my heart ache. It deals with prejudice, racism, death and love in a way that isn't too overwhelming and the lessons to be learned from the book aren't shoved down your throat, they subtlety seep into your mind.

It makes you wonder how a book which appears to be another typical teen book can contain so much meaning. I finished the 300+ pages in well under a week and I would gladly read it again. Books like these deserve to be read more than once. There are moments in which you suddenly burst out laughing and with that, I want to acknowledge the flawlessness of the character Jeffrey Lu. Much of my laughter was due to him.
  • “He couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo.”

Jasper Jones also contains many good, insightful quotes, and I'll end this post with one of them.
  • “Life might be easier if you give in a little, but it’s better if you hold onto something so hard you can’t give it up.”

Sunday, 15 April 2012

NOVEL - The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (Haruki Murakami)

This is my related text for Ext 1 English. I don't have much to say about the actual plot of this book.

When I finish a book, I look it up on Wikipedia it to see what it has to say about it. Expecting a long synopsis of the book, this is what I get:

"The novel is about a low-key unemployed man, Toru Okada, whose cat runs away. A chain of events follow that prove that his seemingly mundane life is much more complicated than it appears."

When two sentences is all Wikipedia has to say about something, you know the topic at hand either has no substance or is too elaborate for anyone to actually be bothered to write a proper summary of it. In this case, it's the latter.

Nearly everything in this book is a motif. Cats, baseball bats, water, flows, music, clothing, darkness, wells. Everything is symbolic for something and the book not only depicts the life of Toru Okada, it goes into so much detail with the lives of the other characters, you begin to wonder if the book is actually about Toru and his missing cat. With 600+ pages, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is so dense, I had to take breaks now and then because it became too much.

I really liked Lieutenant Mamiya's army storyline. Usually I don't care much when books integrate actual historical events because sometimes it just feels like a history lesson, but what Lieutenant recounted to Toru was so fascinating and graphic, that it ended up being one of my favourite parts of the book.

I also adored Toru and May Kasahara's platonic relationship, slightly similar Toru Watanabe and Midori Kobayashi from Murakimi's earlier novel Norwegian Wood. The irony is that despite her quirky personality and her 'interesting' way of expressing herself (“When I see a dictionary on my desk I feel like I’m looking at some strange dog leaving a twisty piece of poop”), May ends up being the most realistic, normal (in a non-supernatural way) character. Her and Toru's constant rumination over death and human life provides much needed fodder for my Textual Dynamics essay.

One more thing I want to mention is the character Noboru Wataya, of which Toru absolutely despises. An academic and later a politician with much power at his finger tips, he intrigues me, reminding me of Patrick Bateman of American Psycho or John Tuld from Margin Call. When most people stop, he keeps going and what scares you about those types of people is not just what they're capable of, but how much it takes to stop them.

The ending is satisfying and despite not every issue being 100% resolved (eg: the mysterious woman on the phone), this leaves room for you to think about the actual novel and the ideas that it raises. This is the second book that I have read by Murakami and so far, I am far from being disappointed. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is definitely worth a read.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

MOVIE - Eu Não Quero Voltar Sozinho (2010)

Saw this film on recommended tumblr, thought I'd give it ago. It's a Portuguese short film about a blind boy and his friendship with a girl and their new classmate. That's about all I can say plot-wise, anything else will spoil the  movie.

Some of the comments on youtube suggest that a sequel should be made, but I disagree. What makes the film so great is its simplicity in dealing with contemporary issues. It talks about something that's so controversial in such a tranquil way and it makes you think 'why are we making such a big deal today about something that is, and should be considered, normal'. This is why I think a sequel is unnecessary, a continuation is unneeded when so much is already conveyed in the 17 minutes.

Overall, this is such a lovely, heart-warming film. The acting was great and the length of it was perfect, not too short or long. This is a film I'm glad I've watched and hope to watch again sometime in the future.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

MOVIE - Laurence Anyways (2012) Film Trailer

It seems kind of pointless to have a blog post about a trailer for a film but nevertheless, I'm so excited for this! I absolutely loved 'J'ai tué ma mère' by Xavier Dolan, so I have high hopes for Laurence Always.

Slightly related, a few months ago I watched the television drama 'Worried About The Boy' with Douglas Booth. To be honest, that was one of the only films I've watched that centred around transvestism. Of course that is different to Laurence Anyways, of which is about a man and his transgender transitioning process, but nevertheless, both the movies are really not types of things I usually watch. It's a good thing read/watch/listen to forms of entertainment you don't normally engage with, as so much can be overlooked and you can really miss out.

I'm really looking forward to this movie coming out. From the trailer, the soundtrack sounds amazing, the characters are intriguing and I'm genuinely curious to what is going to happen. May 2012 is too far away for me :(