Friday, 16 May 2014

What I've been reading: The Bloody Chamber, Sandman, The Roses of Berlin, Dracula

Seriously, though. Isn't it beautiful?
How can any week be a cop out if it includes this?
This week is going to be a bit of a cop out.

Yeah, I read The Bloody Chamber, but it was probably for about the thirtieth time. It's not that I've said everything that I think about it, everything that I have to say about it elsewhere on this blog, it is simply that if I started doing so here I'd be stuck in front of my keyboard all day. Places to be! Books to read!

Still, there was a slight difference this time as I had subjected my poor book group to Angela Carter's fabulous short stories. Suffice to say we got a few converts to the cause and left a handful of people crying into their gin, or shaking their heads at my depravity. (Honestly, I love you chaps. Sorry if you didn't like it.) I consider my work there to be done, though, if only because one woman experienced the same ebullient glee reading Puss-in-Boots that it always give to me.

As to Dracula, well, I've only read until the end of chapter 5, because I'm reading it slightly ahead of real time on account of this. I should be done in October.

And I'm not going to review issue 2 of Sandman, Overture, because I want to finish the arc before I give a considered review of it. Or, you know, gush in a fangirly, obsessive fashion about its obvious superiority to everything.

So that basically leaves The Roses of Berlin, latest instalment in one of my other favourite comics, Moore and O'Neill's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. When I read the first two arcs of this I got the impression that Moore and O'Neill were writing this for me - or at least, people significantly like me. With everything since The Black Dossier, I have become increasingly convinced that they are making these for no-one but themselves.
Isn't it wonderful when your partner brings you roses?

I don't actually have a problem with that.

Oh, it makes it harder to read, of course, but it also means that they are willing to go places, to do things, to please their own sense of artistry. O'Neill's art in the Nemo arc has been breathtaking, far too complex for a visual illiterate like myself to fathom without spending minutes studying each frame. The plots, perhaps, are simpler, the characters more broadly drawn, but the subtext, the implications of the stories, the moral dimension of them, becomes increasingly grey and complex. I have found myself uncomfortable with the level of violence in Nemo stories, with the motivations of the characters. Yet in the flawed world Janni Dakkar inhabits, still, I root for her more than anyone else. Why is that?

As to The Roses of Berlin, I'll need to read it a couple more times before I decide how I feel about it.Visual illiterate, remember? I've read a lot of bad reviews of it but, while I can't yell my love to the rooftops, I preferred it Heart of Ice.

I suppose I can't complete this review without saying mentioning Moore's refusal to bend to the Hollywood trope of, 'foreigners, when in private, prefer to speak in English'. Suffice to say: I respect his stance on this. It is far more authentic. I get it, I really do. But frankly, my German isn't up to the job and some subtitles might have been nice.

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