My deception with The Lefhand of Darkeness :(

I read The Left Hand of Darkness with anxiety and aiming at finding the Ursula K. LeGuin that appears on the sci-fi short stories, the one that is sharp, strong, feminist, savage, intellectual, the one that makes me feel uncomfortable because I accept society rules.
Unfortunately, I did not find her.

I must confess I was a victim of marketing. I bought and read the book because everybody pon the web says: This is a world where gender is non-existent, people only get a definite sex during a few days, possible a terrestrial month, this phase is called kemmer. This story will make you think about the sexual roles and the influence of gender and its impositions on personality.

The true is: You WILL NOT find anything of that in the novel. Don’t be sad, you didn’t buy the book I did. 😢

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First, the premise is right, this out-of-the-galaxy world named Winter has these beings that do not have a permanent sex defined. However, you won’t find a deep description of the society and their traditions. Furthermore, the society will seem to be bored and, moreover, dictatorial if its compared to any kind of human government. Making the premise of no-sex defined biology and in a society becomes absurd and dull, as the human world happens too be in a better condition, even though we have deep prejudices and a worldwide spread macho style.

Second, the novel is a sci-fi adventure about a black guy lost in the snow desert of an extraterrestrial planet.

I love Ursula’s short stories, but the Left Hand of Darkness is definitely a MUST PASS.

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The Haunting of Hill House heir to horror literature and movies

Shirley Jackson’s definitive literary masterpiece is the short-story The Lottery—from which the recent Hunger Games derive from, somehow loosely though—. But in worldwide popular culture her most relevant influence is the Haunting of Hill House, a compact novel that inaugurated the template and basic rules for most future haunting stories and 90% of American movies about haunted houses.

Written in 1959 The Haunting of Hill House established several elements that will characterize haunted houses for the rest of the 20th Century. The shadow of Hill House is not just present in movies, but also in “real” haunted houses, as many of the events that occurred in the most famous US haunted house, Amityville, clearly derive from Jackson’s novel.

 

The following types of characters are set up in the novel and their prototype will prevail in numerous variations across Hollywood:
1. The sensitive woman, also shy, aged around its twenties, and with a difficult personality to carry on long relationships, including those with her ow family. Add up she is poltergeist sensitive person and suspects that maybe she is creating the haunting mess and hears voices inside her head before an event occurs. Meet Eleonor.
2. The academic paranormal researcher. PhD in Anthropology and over 50-years-old Professor Dr. Montague.
3. The medium that will make contact with the entity and will try to discern and solve what the hell is really happening. She is also the failed medium that misunderstands what is happening: Mrs. Montague.
4. The investigative paranormal team made go by wife and husband: Mr. and Mrs. Montague.
5. The unstable beautiful woman always in control of the situation who is going to be scared by the haunting: Theodore.
6. The handsome young man who does not really believe in ghosts or anything out of this world. He has a plus, as he is the heir of the mansion: Luke.
7. The strange and unfriendly house keeper that is always out of the house and advises every body to leave: Mr. Dudley.
8. The odd and not very obliging, mostly rude housekeeper. She is Mrs. Dudley.
9. The suspicious couple of house keepers that may seem to be involved in the haunting: Mr and Mrs Dudley.
10. The young, strong, and brave man that will defend everybody from the terrors of the house, even using a loaded gun: Arthur.
11. The mysterious house owner that will not have a presence on the story but kindly allowed the investigators to stay at the mansion: Mrs. Sanderson.

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Jackson proposes for the first time a series of plot elements that perdure in the haunted house literature for years to come:
1. An invitation by a paranormal researcher to young persons to stay for some days at a house surrounded by the woods.
2. A haunted house located on the top of a hill 6-miles away from the town (a Scooby-Doo favorite).
3. A large house, full of rooms containing a veranda, an attic, a library, many entrances, and lots of rooms in the second floor distinguished by particular features.
4. A cold spot inside the house.
5. A series of hard knockings on dorm rooms not heard by everyone, but scaring a few to the bones.
6. A decoy without any influence on the plot. In this case a rabbit appearing on two occasions outside the house and a mysterious—possibly ghastly—dog chasing others inside the house.
7. Tons of blood coming from the walls and spoiling clothes and tapestry (Stephen King fell in love with this one).
8. Tons of blood disappearing at the presence of other crew members (King loves this too).
9. The use of a planchette—kind of ouija—to contact the house spirits (hollywood carries a romance with this element).
10. The use of the pun spirits, i.e.: ghosts and drinks, by the characters.
11. A sad family background story for the house that includes a mysterious suicide (The Conjuring favorite feat).
12. No telephone inside the haunted house.
13. The appearance of written sentences inside the house.
14. The appearance of sings asking for HELP, yep, written in capital letters.
15. The upsurge of atrocious smells without any reason.
16. Holding a hand of someone who is not there.
17. The confusion between a dream and reality.
18. Children’s verses sung by the characters.
19. Sudden darkening in the woods surrounding the house.
20. A weird mirage of a quite and sweet family scene shared by the characters.
21. A character sleep-walking towards the roof.
22. The signs of macho attitude, from men and women, against the woman that has the capabilities to understand what is really happening.

 

Besides all these features, my favorite element in the The Haunting of Hill House is that you cannot be sure if the house is really haunted.
By the way, expect this year (2018) a Netflix series of the novel and see if the 22 plot elements are on it.

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American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I must admit I was confused when I began reading. The causes of my confusion were two, well they were three. And all come from the book’s cover.

First, see the picture of my book? Well, on its cover, above the title of the 10th anniversary edition it says in yellow letters: “The Bestselling Underground Novel”. So, when reading it, I was trying to find the alternative of parallel cultural positions of the characters or the narrator, but nope, none I found. At the beginning I thought there was going to be an ironic touch somewhere in the novel that would clarify me the “underground” thingy, but by page 272 it was clear there’s no underground theme in it and that the slogan is pure shitty marketing. Examples: the main character, Shadow Moon, loves American fast food and chocolates, his wife Laura loves to give blow-jobs, the characters like to ask for local food on their car trip across the US, people stay at motels, half of the guys carry guns, a sexagenarian loves to have sex with young girls, the “opposition” kidnaps and beats Shadow, there’s a whore that is a goddess, and an overweight kid has a protagonist role. Underground? Nope, you won’t find no underground attitude on it, not even literary or ironic.

Second motive for confusion. I was expecting the sci-fi motives and themes on it, but this is a pure fantasy novel. On the bottom of the cover, in black letters, it says: “Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novel”. I thought the Hugo award was for science-fiction, but Wikipedia educated me and now I know that since 1992 the Hugo Award dropped the Science Fiction Achievement Awards title. In regards to the Nebula Awards it seems they began to give them to fantasy narratives in 2002 with this work, American Gods. So I didn’t find any sci-fi on it.

Third, this 10th anniversary edition has 12,000 words more than the original published novel and is the preferred author’s text. So I was expecting the kind of scenes you assume an editor deletes for a fantasy novel. But no, no gross, hard, challenging, debatable, philosophical, uncanny, or underground scenes came on it. Hence, this edition demonstrates again that writers must follow their editors advise when publishing a text.

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So, let’s hit the novel.

First of all, if you’re going to read it get the standard edition and save yourself from reading 12,000 words that do not procure anything relevant to the narrative thread.

Second, it is very entertaining. I mean, the novel is Bible sized 750-pages long, but you read it as if it was half the size, easy language, non-complicated situations, familiar events, no deep analysis of the characters, no profound descriptions, no interesting reflections, sometimes even seems to be written for teens.

Third, the characters are gods, yes, American Gods, meaning the novel’s premise is that gods exist and live in the US because the people brought them with their beliefs when they came to America. But as nothing is forever in this lovely country, well, gods are forgotten and weaken. What I found illogical is that a long time forgotten god, Norse guy Odin, is one of the most powerful. I guess this comes from the love of American white Anglo-saxons for the Nordic tradition, but it’s simply my guess. Furthermore, there’s an absence of local gods, i.e. no roles for the gods native people’s pantheon and a lot of minor gods and goddess of European cultures also appear on the story and seem to be powerful even though nobody believes on them.

If you’re curious about it, before getting the book, watch the first two chapters on Amazon Prime Video. They’re identical to the book, so that will give you an idea of the mood.

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The Man in the High Castle: the book, the series

This is the master piece from Philip K. Dick, above Do Androids Dream of Electric Ship?—better known as Blade Runner for its cinematic version—and Minority Report, also taken to Hollywood.

The Man in the High Castle is a literary masterpiece. I’d place it among the 10 best science fiction novels ever, and also, and contrary to American literary standards, it does not rely on the plot, but on the significance of the final circumstance and the reader’s its interpretation.

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Does the substance of the original story follows in the series?
No, the series will never finish in the same way as the novel does. For the series the plot should prevail above the interpretation of actions, while in the book the interpretation prevails above the plot.
First, the raw objective of the novel is to present how life would be in the US if the Axis powers would have won the Second World war. This is done masterfully by the series director and producers. Hence, since the intro song we have a bold idea of the changes that the US went through—even though the map of the Nazi States, the neutral zone, and the Pacific States varies from the novel—.
Second, the main objective of the novel is to produce an artistic form that shows an inner reality, in particular a social inner reality. But the series presented this possibility at the beginning of season two and then forgot about it as all the second season deviates from the novel.

How an inner reality is portrayed in the novel?
Before getting into this matter I need to talk about the I Ching and the The Grasshopper Lies Heavily.
The I Ching book is an oracle, a consultation item for Chinese culture and relevant in Dick’s novel. The I Ching is used by all the Japanese main characters and the Americans living in the Pacific States before making any important choice —its function as an oracle isn’t left aside in the series. Though, I wonder if the I Ching was crucial for Japanese people in the 1940s and 1960s and I seriously doubt that Hirohito, Toyota, Hitachi, and Sony used it before assuming a drastic decision. But in Dick’s novel every character consults it to the point we can see how the oracle works. First, you concentrate and make a relevant question, such as: “Should I try to kill Hitler?” “Should I leave my job and start a handcraft workshop?” “Should I go and seek the man in the high castle?”After the question is posed, you throw six Chinese coins—hexagonal with a hole in the middle—and record the result. This result is annotated as a series of lines that are translated into just two numbers. These numbers indicate two chapters of the I Ching. The first chapter number gives you the answer to your question. The second chapter helps you interpret the answer for taking your decision. Easy, isn’t it?
The Grasshopper Lies Heavily is a novel written by the man in the high castle, Hawthorne Abendsen—in the series he’s not a simple writer, but a movie director, producer, and certainly a screenwriter—. Abendsen wrote The Grasshopper Lies Heavily, an alternate history novel, in it the allies won the war. Moreover, he wrote this by consulting the I Ching. He says that The Grasshopper Lies Heavily “represents an inner truth”.

This is the truth beyond the reality of the characters. What does this mean? Who knows! Maybe that The Man in the High Castle is just a novel, maybe Juliana and all the characters live in an alternative universe. Maybe things work the other way and the place where the allies won is the alternate universe or probably, you live in an alternative story. Maybe in your timeline people still kill others because of the color of their skin color, or kill them because they profess a different religion, maybe the US is the global power and struggles to find an enemy to defeat, maybe people is still not considered equal in your universe, or perhaps your individual rights are not respected by the authority.
Probably that’s the inner truth Dick wanted us to see.
So, read the book and let me know what you think.

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USS Callister

First impression of this episode is you’re either watching a parody or a homage to Star Trek. As it flows, you realize the Star Trek issue was simply the pretext to reproduce a new version of the classic episode It’s a Good Life from the 1961 Twilight Zone where a kid has got god-like powers and can do anything he wants with the people around him.

At the end this is a good production with a feeble plot, not what Black Mirror used to do.

On the U.S.S. Callister we meet Captain Robert Daly when he saves the day with fast, smart decisions, and also a charming touch. Daly’s physique similarities to Captain Kirk as well as James Walton’s looks alike as Dr. McCoy together with the miniskirts wore by the female crew and an astonishing production replicating the mood of 1960s Star Trek make the season’s opening a great effective hook.

As the story keeps going argumentative flaws became clear. At the end the the plot is weak, nothing we’re used to get from Black Mirror, up to the point this is maybe the weakest plot of all the series. Although, a funny episode, this is more on the comedy side that on the good horror and sci-fi that fostered Black Mirror popularity.

Here are the five flaws on the plot:

  1. Scientific flaw for the exigent sci-fi fan. It is shown that a sample of human DNA carries a copy of personality and memories —probably soul too—. Hence, with a DNA sample a consciousnesses can be replicated inside a game named Infinity, think The Matrix. Daly has got a bunch of his employees DNA and replicated their consciousnesses inside Infinity, these employees make up the U.S.S. Callister crew. We could get along with this, but the DNA issue has repercussions on the conclusion of the plot.
  2. Online of offline? The crew knows they are inside Infinity, but Daly modified his own version to look  like his favourite TV show, Star Fleet. The crew is kept offline on Daly’s development build, sealed off, so only he can control it —watch minutes  24-26. Twenty minutes later Infinity gets an update and guess what? The crew is able to fly towards the patch. Hence, they were not offline, meaning they could find a way out of Daly’s controlled segment before.
  3. Can they die or not? It is stated that the crew cannot die, but Daly’s kills Walton’s son by throwing him to outer space.
  4. God or not god? We’re shown Daly’s god-like powers work inside the ship and when he fights an enemy in a planet. Later, by the finale, Daly’s god-like powers cease to work outside the U.S.S. Callister.
  5. Powerless god. After the update is installed in Infinity Daly looks afraid and seems to trapped inside the game. Why?

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USS Callister

Black Mirror, season 4 episode 1, 2017, 76 min.

Written by Charlie Brooker and William Bridges

Directed by Toby Haynes

Produced by Louise Sutton

Exposition

We meet Captain Robert Daly on the first scene as in the pure Stark Trek style. Daly is the captain of the U.S.S. Callister. Next scene we realize Daly is the CTO of Infinity, a multiplayer online game. He’s also a tech savvy abused by his business partner, James Walton, as well as the rest of his employees. Yep, he’s pathetic. Nevertheless, Nanette, a new employee, admires him and is interested in his inventiveness. She tries to socialize with him.

Conflict

Inside the U.S.S. Callister we realize the crew inhabits a controlled segment of the game owned by Daly. There, Daly keeps copies of the consciousness of Walton and other employees, copies he got from their DNAs. Daly makes the people act as the crew and enemies of the U.S.S. Callister.The crew cannot be killed, cannot get out of there and cannot leave the ship.

Actions

Daly gets a used cup of coffee from Nanette to get her DNA and create a replica of her consciousness. Inside the U.S.S. Callister Nanette is not willing to accept her destiny as a servile crew member. She learns they cannot escape or die, but they can suffer. Captain Daly controls everything as if he were God.

Walton tells Nanette that Daly made a replica of his son and sent the kid to explode in the outer space, while keeping him watching hoe the boy froze and explode. From the spaceship, the crew can see a wormhole on the horizon. The crew realizes it is a patch for a new version of Infinity and assumes that if they fly through it they will disappear or die, and thus free themselves from Captain Daly. Problem is that Daly may make other copies of them with the DNA he already has.

Nanette proposes the crew to find a way to communicate with the external world and contact others. They realize Daly has a radio device that links him to the real world when he says his pizza has arrived and leaves the crew in the middle of an adventure. Nanette proposes the crew to blackmail the real Nanette with a series of sexy photos uploaded on PhotoCloud —an Instagram equivalent.

The crew blackmails Nanette and asks her to go to Daly’s department and steal some items from his small fridge. How the crew knows what items got their DNA is unclear. Whatever the case, real world Nanette succeeds in stealing the items while the crew flies towards the wormhole followed by Captain Daly. Why Daly does not use his God-like powers to reach them is not explained.

Climax

The U.S.S. Callister stops before reaching the wormhole. Walton goes to the engine room and turns on the engines manually while burning himself without dying. The crew gets out of the virtual reality before Captain Daly gets them.

Resolution

The crew appears wearing black suits on what can be considered an updated version of the ship navigating freely throughout the cloud (the Internet?). Captain Daly cries for exiting the game inside the spaceship where he was following the U.S.S. Callister, but then a deletion in progress is announced after the patch has been installed; meanwhile, we see the real Daly still connected to the game lying on his chair. His avatar and consciousness will be deleted, but we are not shown that.

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Arkangel

Is only in the second episode of the fourth season that Black Mirror rises again with cohesive, tight, and smart plots. We don’t have tons of special effects as in U.S.S. Callister (S4E1) but we have a coherent screenplay directed by Jodie Foster.

Ninety per cent of the story is advanced only by two actresses Rosemarie DeWitt and Brenna Harding, both of them gave a great performance, perhaps the best performances in the whole four seasons. Certainly a women’s story directed by a women was a great decision.

Arkangel goes back to the simplest premise of sci-fi, there is a technological artifact while all the rest of things remain equal in this world. The item is a guardian angel, a system that allows you to locate via GPS, monitor de vitals, and see and listen what other person is doing.

Furthermore, Arkangel recovers the art of a well written story in Black Mirror, Arkangel is an ironic tragedy in the classical way where a mother’s attempt to keep her daughter safe makes the mother loose her at the end.

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ARKANGEL
Black Mirror, S4E2, 2017, 52 min.
Written by Charlie Brooker
Directed by Jodie Foster
Produced by Nick Pitt.

Exposition
Marie gives birth to Sara. Three years later Marie takes Sara to the park. Sara follows a cat and gets lost for a brief period of time. Marie recovers Sara with the help of other people. Marie takes Sara to Arkangel where they inject Sara with a new technology that allows her mother to monitor everything Sara sees and listens, also she is able to monitor Sara’s vitals and know her location via GPS.

Conflict
Marie spends a great deal of time monitoring Sara for the following years. In addition, Marie also used the optional content limitation mode to censor what Sara sees and hears. This works by blurring such things as blood, fights, nude scenes, or even people arguing.

Actions
Sara is left at home with her grandparent, he gots a heart attack and Sara is not able to see what happened to him. However, Marie gets an alerta on the tablet as Sara became anxious. At school Sara cannot watch the videos other kids see, furthermore when a boy explains Sara the actions on the videos, she is not able to understand what he says.
Marie takes Sara to a psychologist because she is not able to distinguish other peoples gestures. It happens the reason is Sara did not learn how to identify specific emotions on others peoples faces due to the Arkangel. The system cannot be uninstalled, but Marie can simply turn off the tablet and stop interfering in her daughters visuals. Marie decides to turn off the tablet. Later kids at school tech Sara everything she needs to know about human emotions.

Time passes and Sara is 15-years old. Sara dates Trick and has sex with him. Marie is worried and calls Sara, as she doesn’t answer her phone Marie calls Sara’s friends. Marie can’t find Sara and turns on the tablet, Marie sees Sara is making love with Trick. Marie keeps the tablet on without letting Sara know. A day later Sara asks Trick to give her a little bit of cocaine. He agrees and lets her inhale a line, Marie sees this from the tablet. Next day Marie threatens Tricks, if he speaks again to Sara, Marie will go to the police and accuse Trick for having sex with Sara as she is still a minor. Trick stops answering Sara’s messages and phone calls, when she faces him, he says it was a mistake and doesn’t want to see her again.

Sara gets depressed and Marie drops a pill on Sara’s morning milk shake.

Climax
At school Sara vomits suddenly. She learns it was because of an emergency contraceptive pill —although it should have been an abortion pill. The doctor tells Sara that the pill worked and she is not pregnant anymore. Sara goes home and looks in the trash, she finds the contraceptive pill box. Her mother returns home and gets the tablet, Marie didn’t notice Sara was behind her. They fight and Sara brakes the tablet on Marie’s face.

Resolution
Marie wakes up and finds Sara is not at home, she yells her name on the street outside her house and tries to turn on the tablet desperately. Sara takes a lift from a lorry driver and  I’m a Mother by The Pretenders plays (hear it here).

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Mondo Films Origins

If you watch the Italian film/documentary Monde Cane today you’ll find little to be shocked about, but for your parents and certainly grandparents it opened a new whole view of the world.

Half documentary and half movie, Mondo Cane was the first movie to dare to show the kind of gross scenes that today populate You Tube. Stuff like the life in Papua New Guinea, the multiple wives of a tribesman leader, people eating insects in New York, US soldiers saying good-bye to a bunch of girls in bikini, geese being over and force fed in France to fatten their livers, a snake store in Singapore, bull’s races in Portugal, and bloody Catholic processions in Italy. When it was released it was an adults only movie… today it would hardly reach a PG-13 status. The world has changed it’s parameters.

It’s not clear how many scenes of the movie are acted and which are real, but at the end the movie became a cult film and the legacy of Monde Cane and Gualterio Jiacopetti the director, was the courage to show the world on film that not all traditions and morals are the same across the world, a duty that unregulated You Tube inherited and has been replicating lately.

Moreover, from 1962 to the 1990s the “mondo” became a genre of movies, a genre dedicated to show how different people is across the world in a documentary. Watch it, though in 2014 it would hardly shock you or your kids.

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What a Cult Movie is?

The essential definition of a cult movie is: a controversial film that has acquired a passionate fanbase. Let’s add that a cult movie has followers that engage in repeated viewings, that quote dialogue, and write and talk actively about the movie. On the other hand, there’s a strong opinion mentioning a cult movie should be a non-mainstream, non-Hollywood one.

So, what we do with movies as Star Wars (1977), Casablanca (1942), Terminator (1984) and more recently The Fast and the Furious (2001)? These are blockbusters and comply with the cult film definition.

Moreover, a cult movie should have a distinct narrative or aesthetic. But as in other aspects of art this is not always evident. So the ground is that a movie is a cult movie when someone says it is. Let’s retake the joke about pornography: how you differentiate between artistic nudity and pornography? Easy, when you see it. However, a cult movie still needs followers to talk about it and a fanbase, still one fan is a fanbase.

Some say a cult movie should have a subversive or controversial message. I think subversion is not be a not a sine qua non condition, but the controversial element must exist in a cult movie. A good example is the Blair Witch Project (1999), controversial? yes, subversive? not that I can see it.

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There are also cult movie directors, such as Stanley Kubrick, Luis Buñuel, and Quentin Tarantino and here we face again the conflict of commercial movie vs. cult movie. for instance, George Lucas, a Hollywood blockbuster specialist, who’s first two movies were cult films: American Graffiti (1973) and Star Wars (1977). Another example of cult movie, blockbuster director is Steven Spielberg, watch Jaws (1975) and E.T. (1982).

Finally, outside the USA is a whole world of cult movies. Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1920) (The Cabinet of Dr. Cagliari) by Robert Wiene, is the first cult movie ever made. While Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht by Werner Herzog (1979) was the first remake of a cult movie, of Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922) by F. W. Murnau, that also became a cult film.

Cult movie directors mushroom outside the US, one of my favorites is Italian Dario Argento, whose movies are a commercial failure and not cult movies in the US, whereas in the rest of the world Argento’s films are immediately cult movies. Moreover, there are also cult movie actors in the non-US cinema, Mexican actor Mario Moreno “Cantinflas” is both a cult movie and blockbuster star. Just because he performs in a movie, the movie is a cult film, e.g.: Ahí está el detalle (1940), which is not even included in the IMDb website, but still 80-years later Cantinflas subversive performance on it is admired and quoted, his way of dressing imitated, and the title of the movie itself has achieved status of a popular byword in Spanish-speaking countries.

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Michel Houellebecq’s Les Particules Elementaires

Or The Elementary Particles in English. This is a straightforward novel where everything is what it seems and therefore, these circumstances, bother most of North American-English speaking-Shades of Gray readers.
The 200,000+ place on sales on Amazon of this book clearly states the books condition on the preferences of English speaking readers. The plot goes against the sellable guidelines of what a plot should be in the English language: there’s no clear conflict, there’s no antagonist, there’s no special item or object, there’s no condition to overcome, there’s no goal to conquer. Therefore, if you read Goodreads’ https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58314.The_Elementary_Particles critiques about the novel you’ll find stuff like:
characters are monodimensional
blatant racism
misogyny
offensive
pornographic
distasteful
the story is ridiculous

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So? Welcome to real life: life is racist, macho-sided, pornographic, offensive, mono dimensional, and ridiculous. And still you have to live it. None of the main characters in The Elementary Particles is a young, gorgeous, millionaire trying to have funny sex with a 20-something girl. Michel Houellebecq’s characters are in their thirties, overweighed, they aren’t handsome, and from time to time they decide to masturbate. Is this so horrific for American readers? I believe this is so real to be bearable and acceptable for the average North American reader.

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Four Impressions on Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Four impressions on Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

First impression. When I began reading I said: “this is why Audrey Hepburn got famous, by interpreting this innocent playgirl-escort-geisha: Holly Golightly”. Holly is a beautiful girl that knows how to squeeze men to get jewelry, dresses, the rent, and of course cash, a whore would say my grandpa. Holly is the kind of girl ignorant of anything not useful for having fun and making money. She doesn’t give her cat a name because that’s too much commitment, she was married at 14 and left the hillibilly’s home with no notice, and thinks about Mexico as a great place to raise horses. Then I googled the famous poster of Hepburn with pearls around her neck and in a black dress seated with a white cup of coffee and her hair tied back. She looks exactly as Capote painted Holly in the book, but on the other hand, I also understood why Capote wanted Marilyn Monroe to be in that role.  

Second impression. After the first pages the reader knows he’s facing an unreliable narrator telling an unreliable story. The narrator is an incipient fiction writer called “Fred” by Holly because of her brother and we never know his name. This is crucial considering the story is told only from his point of view. Narrator “Fred” never says he’s in love with Holly, he considers her a friend, admires her, maybe envies her, and eagerly helps her. Considering the novella is set up in the 1940s and written in the 1950s, it subtlety seems to me that “Fred” never falls in love with Holly because he’s a homosexual man. Of course, he’s never identified as a gay straightforward, but the popular perception that “Fred” falls in love with Holly is also never expressed in the novella.

Third impression. The novella is not what I expected. Yes, maybe because everybody praises it, maybe because of Hepburn’s iconic poster, maybe because of Capote’s previous stories about real murder cases, or maybe because there can’t be a breakfast at Tiffany’s (it’s a jewelry). The thing is that I was expecting something bolder from the story and it didn’t come.

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Fourth impression. Its literary value is not in the iconic character of Holly Golightly; it is on the unreliability of the characters, the narrator, the main character (Holly, indeed), and of every other else that appears, even those who even doesn’t dare to speak. The very beginning of the story is untrustworthy… Bar owner Joe Bell calls “Fred” to show him a set of pictures from Africa from an old friend. On one of those pictures there’s a wooden statue with the face of Holly. The narrator doesn’t believe she’s been in Africa, so he starts telling us how he met her. They met when he rented his first apartment at the brownstone…    

Finally, do yourself a favor and if you watch the movie just see the beginning to get a grasp of Holly and don’t bother on paying attention on the male character. After 20 minutes the movie is a Hollywood commercial interpretation of a decent novella. 

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