Today, self got to see Paul Haggis’s new movie, “Third Person,” and it is seamless and complex and lovely and moody. It focuses on odd couples. The woman who most aroused self’s sympathy was the woman played by Mila Kunis. Having said that, James Franco gives such a wicked and sly performance, as her ex-husband. He projects such smugness, with just a glance. His partner, a beautiful, long-legged French gazelle, is the third leg of a triangle, and she also delivers a performance that is complex and moving. In fact, all the actors in this movie were at the top of their game (well, maybe not Liam Neeson, who gets by on looking worried, all of the time)
Now, self has been weeding her Pile of Stuff of unnecessary materials. She has so much catch-up reading to do!
One of the back issues self picks up is The New York Review of Books of May 22, 2014. There’s a review by Masha Gessen of a translation of one of Dovlatov’s works: Pushkin Hills. Gessen quotes another Russian emigré writer, Joseph Brodsky, who says of Sergei Dovlatov:
His stories rest primarily on the rhythm of the sentence; the cadence of the narrative voice. They are written like poems: the plot is secondary, it is but a pretext for speech. It is song rather than storytelling.
Self wonders how Dovlatov could have escaped her notice until now.
Another excellent review is by Michael Gorra, on Starting Over: Stories by Elizabeth Spencer. Spencer wrote The Light in the Piazza, which has such an audacious plot self is sure that Spenser, if having to pitch to a publishing house today, would never be signed on.
Another of the reviews that stood out is Francine Prose’s review of Emma Donoghue’s latest, Frog Music.
Self is currently reading Richard Price’s Lush Life. She hopes she can do a better job of finishing it than she did with Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story collection, Unaccustomed Earth. Self kept obsessively going back over the first page of Unaccustomed Earth because of course the writing is lovely. If only it wasn’t so stately and dolorous. She got about halfway through it.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.