Sunday, July 28, 2013

My weekend: 'Notes on a Scandal' and another sketch

After a weekend spent doing very little and feeling fairly rubbishy, I'm forcing myself to write blog post with a couple of things I have done recently. I thought I'd do another book review and I'll try to keep it brief and not to give too much away.

Last week I got an enormous craving to read something new and as all my things - including my books - are packed away in boxes for the time being, I went off to join the library. I came back with a stack of books and proceeded to spend the next eight hours curled on my bed completely engrossed.

I read 'Notes on a Scandal' by Zoƫ Heller (yep, all in one evening) and actually I think it's possibly the first time I've preferred a film to a book. If you haven't seen the film, I really recommend it. Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett are both fantastic in the lead roles, and it's one of those films that doesn't quite turn out as you'd expect.

The plot centres around Sheba, a schoolteacher who has an affair with one of her pupils, but told from the point of view of Barbara, Sheba's friend and fellow teacher. After a while though, it becomes clear that the story of Sheba and her boyfriend Steven is really only peripheral and actually it's about Sheba and Barbara's relationship (despite Barbara's frank claim early on, 'This is not a story about me'). Barbara is a bloodsucker; she becomes fixated on certain people, desperate to befriend them, thinking there is a larger connection between them than there really is.

For me the film captured Barbara's character much better than the book did. She is truly sinister, but also sad (there's heartbreaking monologue that's lifted pretty much word-for-word from the novel that describes the kind of loneliness that stems from not just a few weeks or months, but years of being alone). The ending was completely changed in the film, with Sheba leaving and Barbara finding a new 'friend', and I thought it suited Sheba to be a bit more gutsy than she is in the book.

The book is very well written though (I feel like I'm being too down on it). There are moments of completely clarity when, within a sentence or two of character description or social interaction, you just 'get' it. I also like that Heller doesn't shy away from exploring the bodily and sexual, but that may well be personal preference and some people might find certain descriptions a bit full on. I think I might look up her other two novels when I'm next in the library and give those a try too.

Oh yes, and I did get around to drawing a bilby this weekend. Bit annoyed that she's too big to fit on my piece of paper and there's no room for her tail, but never mind, she's cute nevertheless. I'm thinking of putting together a 'Creatures Wall' of all my little sketches. I don't really like pictures behind glass, so I might just mount them on card and stick them up somehow.

Has anyone else read/watched 'Notes on a Scandal'? How have you spent your weekend?

Song of the day: 'Fistfull of Love' - Anthony and the Johnsons

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