Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I enjoyed this, but I found it a little bland. Eilis, the main character, is rather one-dimensional, a little lacking in spirit, and seems very passive almost throughout the novel. I was expecting something with a little more angst. I will be interested to see how Nick Hornby’s adaptation for the screen differs!
View all my reviews
Gillian Flynn’s cutting novel, Gone Girl, focuses on a young married couple, Amy and Nick Dunne, and their crumbling marriage. Having both lost their jobs in New York, the couple consequently relocates to Nick’s hometown in Missouri, the bane of Amy’s existence. Nick opens a bar with his sister, using the rest of Amy’s trust fund money she received from her famous parents. On their fifth wedding anniversary Amy goes missing, and a full-fledged investigation ensues. Nick, under the scrutiny of this investigation, is the first and longstanding suspect, according to the police and many of his pesky neighbors. Well into the book significant secrets of both Amy and Nick are revealed. These two revelations show the unreliability of these two characters, making the reader question their credibility in the past and following chapters. The book ends with a twisted take on a happy ending, making the reader’s hair stand on end, and even being a bit frustrating. This suspenseful tale of deceit and love uses many thoughtful literary devices to tell its story. The book switches off from Nick’s present day narration and Amy’s past journal entries, creating an interesting dynamic of their points of view. Both characters are biased, favoring themselves and painting the flaws of the other. Also, having both of them as unreliable narrators creates another level of suspense in the novel, as the reader cannot be sure what is true and the mental state of both the characters is compromised. With these literary devices, Gillian Flynn makes a standard thriller into artful piece of stimulating literature.
A skeptical viewer, I stepped into the movie theater with little knowledge of Matt Damon’s The Martian and left with an entirely newfound respect and appreciation for space and its brave inhabitants. The movie, adapted from a 2011 novel by Andy Weir, follows the taxing journey of a mistakenly dead astronaut (Matt Damon) as he struggles to survive on Mars. An astute biologist, Mark Watney devotes himself to his survival and return to Earth. Through NASA’s sophisticated technology, Watney is able to communicate to those on Earth that he is in fact alive and working to make it home. Despite a series of crippling setbacks, Watney finds his faith in the thought of returning home restored by the unanimous support of his old crew and NASA employees. The film also briefly examines the political relationships between the domineering science communities of the world, namely China. The country extends a lifeline to the US after thoughtful deliberation – a subtle nod to the intricacy of global politics. The film’s vivid and realistic depiction of life in space and the struggles that ensue offered itself as a worthwhile student discussion in my science class. Teacher-initiated, the conversation about the film raised several important scientific questions regarding the eco-life on Mars and the elusive inner-workings of NASA. Overall, I would highly recommend The Martian as a film for all audiences regardless of their interest in science (I myself am not a huge fan). And although I cannot yet recommend the book, I look forward to reading it and sharing my thoughts on this forum!