Everyone has a Cordova story, whether they like it or not.
Marisha Pessl loves her similes. Every subject and person gets a description added, no wonder that the book is so thick. After a while it gets noticeable, and – in my case – a bit annoying.
The first strike was having a male main character. I read female authors because they usually write female characters, and that thusly I don’t have to worry about a man mishandling/manhandling a woman and her life. Now I still have to read about the grumpy and socially disgraced male detective (oh wait, he’s a journalist).
Scott has a bucketload of issues, with casual sexism possibly the most annoying one. His side characters have the potential to be interesting, but never really get to be on the stage as a person. Strike two.
The story in itself is pretty amusing, though. There’s a reclusive director with a cult-like following, a thin line between realistic horror and magical, all in a lush noir-light background. If there aren’t any movie/TV-plans yet, I can see them happening. Plenty of the similes can be dropped, the main plot is easily streamlined and there will be less time to navel-gaze for Scott. Everybody wins.
Night Film, Marisha Pessl, Random House 2013
9 x 56 min.
More zombies? Yes, but possibly like you’ve never experienced them before. These zombies view brains as a delicacy, they are back from the dead, and they are medicated in such a way that they are not rabid any more and need to assimilate (back) into society. The BBC sometimes likes to spin things just a bit differently, and this time they do it well.
If the pain and discomfort of having undead murderers move back into your neighbourhood, add a bit more human horror with having the neighbourhood being a small, Northern England one, and have the main character be different in another way as well: main character Kieren is gay. It’s hard to discover which one is viewed as worse.
That makes In The Flesh – possibly more than other zombie stories – a show to look at your way of viewing the other in society, and the hypocrisy of Not In My Backyard and the like. This doesn’t turn it into a Save Humankind pamphlet, which might make things even a little bit more depressing. And yet, it’s a show to watch, a pain to suffer. That darn BBC again.
In The Flesh, BBC 2013
My God, Mae thought.
You have to come in really big and really original to terrify me with mythological creatures, murderers or aliens. But show me the ordinary human being willingly going off the tracks ..that’s the horror you scare me with. That’s the horror Dave Eggers offers in this novel.
Of course, in the beginning is everything awesome. Young Mae finally gets a job at this amazing, progressive company that is going to make the world a better place through the internet and social media. So they are surprisingly thorough about your online presence, and a bit demanding about sharing everything you do, but it’s only out of interest. Which other big company is interested in its personnel like that?
If you’re a hero long enough, you’ll be around to see yourself turn into a villain. There is goodwill. So much goodwill that it smothers, chokes, stalks and kills. Because what used to be optional, becomes mandatory. Secrets are bad, privacy is bad, continuous sharing is the only way to live. And plenty people agree to living it.
I don’t expect this to be a realistic image of the future, but it is definitely scary enough to avoid your feeds and time lines for a while.
The Circle, Dave Eggers, Hamish Hamilton 2013
Above a densely forested hillside black bird-shapes wheel and turn over a weed-clogged tarn.
Horror voor tieners, maar sneaky genoeg om degene die de tienertijd heeft verlaten ook een beetje zenuwachtig te maken. Lijk je het in het begin allemaal wel te zien aankomen (“Oh, poe, poppen), Rhiannon Lassiter voegt op een tergende manier steeds een meer bangmakende details toe.
Een samengestelde familie gaat op vakantie in een oud familiehuis dat al heel lang niet meer in gebruik is. Iedereen is boos op elkaar en op de ouders die zo graag doen alsof, maar familierelaties worden op de proef gesteld als iets ouds en gewelddadigs ook een connectie met ze lijkt te hebben.
Lassiter creeërt mooie plaatjes met donkere bossen en krakende deuren om het pijnlijke verhaal van twee geliefden die wel heel graag willen, maar terug gehouden worden door hun kinderen. Een tweezijdige horror van tegen je wil een nieuwe familie hebben en vervolgens het paranormale in je schoot geworpen te krijgen.
Bad Blood, Rhiannon Lassiter, Oxford University Press 2007