Saturday, 8 March 2014

Book #9 Tarantula by Thierry Jonquet


Tarantula by French writer Thierry Jonquet is the novel upon which Pedro Almodovar based his 2011 film The Skin I Live In.

When I saw The Skin I Live In I thought it was quite breathtakingly original and I was floored by the films central twist.

To read Tarantula was odd then because I knew exactly what was coming and was unsurprised which takes the central shock value of the book away, but even without the foreknowledge of the having seen the film, the books events are heavily signposted in a way that the film just wasn't (at least for me)

The film made several departures from the book too, and with the exception perhaps of the end, which should have stayed true, were just better ideas.

Those parts which focused on Alex over Richard and Eve were just plain dull at times.

You'll note that I have said very little of the plot or events in this review, that's because The Skin I Live In was just such a jaw dropping film that I would hate to ruin it for anyone.

I feel that I cannot say the same of Tarantula which just doesn't have the same impact.

Verdict : 6/10

Book #8 The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society was recommended to me by my friend Jennie from Book Club.

Annie Barrows was Mary Ann Shaffer's niece and worked to get her novel completed and published posthumously, it is lovely to find out that Mary Ann died knowing that her book would be published worldwide even if she didn't get to see this happen.

The story takes place on Guernsey during World War Two, which as many know but increasingly many don't, was, though British territory, occupied by Nazi Forces during the war.

We pick up the story post-war in the 50s as writer Juliet, formally a war columnist, casts about for her next project. Her project finds her when she strikes up a correspondence with Dawsey Adams and subsequently his friends and begins to learn what the Islanders went through during wartime.

Though it is set during a really grim and grueling period of history for Guernsey there is something just persistently joyous about this book. Told in letters, the voices of the different characters come through really well and each maintain uniqueness, often it is funny, the letter written when Juliet requests a character reference from a woman who hates her for example. Often it is quaint, but in the best of ways, all 'Jolly Ho!" and "Toodle Pip!" the vernacular of the day really shines through, and feels genuinely authentic.

I loved all the supporting characters as much as the lead, and I liked how the writer managed to trick me into making an incorrect assumption about a relationship. There is something just so heartwarming about it all. The phrase 'testament to the human spirit' gets bandied about in lots of literary criticism but in this case it genuinely applies.

Some might dismiss this as 'fluff' and perhaps a 'girls book' but they would be guilty of being a book snob to do so.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and would give it 10/10