No. 118 (essentialsaltes) wrote,
No. 118

Less, the something or other to Paris, Red Sparrow

On the international business trip of mystery, I finished reasing Less, the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Andrew Sean Greer (and also a NYT/PBS Now Read This book choice). A gay novelist approaching 50, Greer chose to write a novel about a gay novelist approaching 50. While amusing but not hilarious, the book's best quality may be the slow burning build of pathos for its initially unlikeable protagonist. Hey, I realize I'm not the Pulitzer Committee, and the prize sets some expectations. This didn't meet them, for me. But maybe if that wasn't emblazoned on the cover, I would feel better about what is certainly a finely crafted novel.

On the plane back, I watched Clint Eastwood's fictionalized film of the incident where 3 Americans on holiday take down a terrorist on a French train. What it resembles more than anything else is that Traveller game where you show up and start character creation and there is only time for one encounter before you have to go home. We get the elaborate backstories of the Americans, and boy is this Clint at his hamfisted worst. 'I'm the kid who doesn't school good, but guns will complete me.' 'I'm the one with a problem with authority, but the service will make me a fine human being.' 'I'm the black one.' It is propaganda, and only became watchable to hate it and its obviousness.

Red Sparrow was about 75% stolen from La Femme Nikita, but there were a few nuggets of originality in the other 25%. Hard to really enjoy films on a plane, especially as you develop a cramp in your thumb from pressing on the headphone jack to keep the audio in stereo. But I can safely say it was a finer film than the steaming pile of crap that was 'the 15:17 to Paris'.
Tags: book, film, game, travel

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