Friday 4 April 2008

Twice-told tales

I already had three other books on the go when I picked this one up about 2 hours ago (yes, I'm already done - it's a YA book and it's short) but they're all too ponderous and I've got a bloody huge headache right now. Question: why is Colleen reading anything when she feels like her head is about to explode? Answer: The TV's broken. Le sigh.

I skipped out of tonight's Raptors game (and all that mind-shattering noise) and had to entertain myself sans idiot box. In the end, I decided it had been much, much too long since I'd read anything by Philip Pullman. A few years ago, my dear friend Shelley made me read Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy and I've been in literary love with Pullman ever since (and, of course, intensely and eternally grateful to Shelley!).

The White Mercedes is much more classic YA drama than I expected from Pullman but it was very good nonetheless. The guy can just straight up write and the comparisons that have been made between this book and a Shakespearean tragedy were surprisingly apt. I saw how this sad tale was going to end about halfway through but I'm not sure if it's because Pullman wasn't being cagey enough or because I've read so damned much Shakespeare. Still, knowing how it was going to end didn't lessen my enjoyment of the book - in fact, I'd say it increased it because the pain of anticipation was what made it such a pleasurable/painful read.

The reviews of this book on were interesting - people either loved it because they were surprised by the plot turns (most too young to have read any Shakespeare) or hated it because it was a "rip off" of Shakespeare. But the people who hated it because it was derivative of Shakespeare don't actually know enough about Shakespeare to be making good sense here - for if they did know enough about Shakespeare, they'd know he was the biggest story stealer of them all! And good on him, too, for keeping good stories alive and making them better. Ditto for Pullman.

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