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  1. glatisant

    Nicest Voices

    23 posts in and no one mentions Patty Griffin? For shame! (Love Eva Cassidy too, zalm.)
  2. glatisant

    Sophie Scholl

    Yeah, it's interesting seeing certain similar points being raised in your reviews regarding the film--Sophie's "goodness without priggery," the reference to Joan of Arc, etc. On a related note, I also liked the New Yorker review for The Ninth Day (this one written by David Denby).
  3. glatisant

    Sophie Scholl

    Haven't seen the film (yet), but I loved this review by Anthony Lane, especially where he refutes the criticism that the film is too simplistic or one-dimensional in its depiction of good vs. evil: :spoilers: ?
  4. Thanks for the detailed explanation, derringdo. I never made it past the second book of the Sil, so this is all new to me. A (very belated) thank you. I share with you some of the same reservations you had with Lions of Al-Rassan, but I think I bought into the characters more than you did, perhaps. I finally got my reserved copy of Sailing to Sarantium from the library today. For those of you who have read it, how was the depiction of religion in that book? How closely does the setting hew to Byzantine Orthodoxy, and does that affect the believability of the settings to you?
  5. And I forgot to add that the appropriation of real-life histories and legends actually came off far worse in Arbonne than in Lions. In the latter, the Christian-Muslim-Jewish conflict was depicted as meaningless (a viewpoint I can understand if not endorse), and both sides are allowed their share of honorable (or at least ambiguous) characters. In Arbonne, the Christian-Catharist conflict had been baldly slated to equal repression of women/art vs. liberation of women/art. Interesting stuff about the Silmarillion. This conversation on Kay mentions the way the curse on the House of Hurin played out as a possible source of inspiration for the curse in Tigana. The relevant section is about two-fifths of the way down on my screen. :spoilers: for Silmarillion and Tigana: , I think. ... CC: Hurin's young children, Turin and Nienor, escape separately from slavery but, through their well-intended actions, they help to bring about the destruction of two hidden Elven strongholds, Nargothrond and Doriath. Later, Turin and Nienor are reunited, but not before Nienor has been enspelled by the Dragon of Morgoth, Glaurung, to lose all her memory. Not knowing herself, she and Turin meet and fall in love (the close parallel here is to Dianora and Baerd and the incest in their story). When Nienor recovers her memory, she leaps into a river and drowns herself. Again, this fits with Kay's handling of . So for those reasons I see the Silmarillion as an important source of inspiration for Kay. derringdo, did you mean that Kay and/or Christopher Tolkien wrote that part of the Hurin storyline themselves, or did they do it from Tolkien's earlier drafts? Does anyone know the length of time passed from when Kay helped edit the Silmarillion, till when he wrote Tigana?
  6. What resonated most deeply with me in Tigana was the theme of memory: "What can a flame remember? If it remembers too much, it goes out. If it remembers too little, it goes out. If only it can teach us, while it burns, how to remember." The ideas of naming and identity have of course been explored before (Brian Friel's Translations, for example, explicitly links political repression with national identity and names/languages), but to symbolize it the way he did draws the story closer to myth, in the Tolkienian and Lewisian sense of the term. I actually found Lions a more confident work in some ways than either Tigana or Arbonne. Part of this may be because Kay does variations on the same archetypes (the grizzled outlaw, the machiavellian monarch, the beautiful courtesan, to add a few to your list), and by this point, he is able to deepen their individual storylines and motivations while integrating them more seamlessly into the whole than before. (For example, compare the parts played by Alienor and Zabira in relations to the plot.) For another reason, one can argue that Tigana and Arbonne come with more ready-made, "fantastical" story arcs, while pulling the more historically-bound cast and numerous contending political forces in Lions together thematically is a much more difficult accomplishment. For me, the poignancy of the ending was ruined somewhat by the gratituous attempt at misdirecting the reader near its beginning. I understand the point is to underscore the mirror/doubling motif between the two main characters, but the way it came off was way too clumsy and heavyhanded to be effective. The three full glasses of wine, at the end, however, has to stand as one of the most lovely, pitch-perfect images in all his works. I'm thinking of borrowing El-Cid from the library to check out his sources. The whole religious conflict has to have been more meaningful than the way it was presented.
  7. Yes, I suspected as much--that seems to be a function of myth (versus history), I guess. At the moment I'm trying to decide between reading the Tapestries first, or the Mosaic. I've picked up The Summer Tree a couple of times, but have never managed to make much headway before. But I think I'll finish up with the more historical works, then dive back into Kay's "first of all worlds." Thanks for the recommendation. While we're on the subject of religion, there is an interesting paper from the same website that compares Kay to Tolkien, presented at the 2002 Conference on Christianity and Literature: From Middle Earth to Fionavar: Free Will and Sacrifice in High Fantasy by J.R.R. Tolkien and Guy Gavriel Kay. Going back to the filming that's currently underway for The Lions of Al-Rassan, does anyone want to share their thoughts about possible casting, directions, etc?
  8. This is an overly vituperative review which I disagree with on many counts
  9. Glad to be the bearer of good tidings. Now I'm just hoping they won't dumb it down too much. In your opinion, would Ed Zwick be up to directing this? Most importantly, who would you guys cast in the main roles? Characterization is so, so key to this novel that getting the right actors to play them would be key, I think. Can you tell me what it is that specifically inspires you about Kay's work? How do they relate to what you try to do as a writer? Incidentally, how would you rank Tigana against Lions? As I said, I'm partial to the former, but I think you can make a good case that the latter is the more accomplished work, at least technically. The first time I read that, I had to put the book down and go walk around a little, before I could get back to and finish everything off. 8O Actually, this has been somewhat problematic for me in both Lions and especially Arbonne. It
  10. Hmm. Apparently, Warner Brothers is filming Lions of Al-Rassan, tentatively slated for release in 2007. It will be directed by Ed Zwick (The Last Samurai), and written by Vera Blasi (Women on Top, Tortilla Soup).
  11. His name's popped up here before, though I couldn't find a thread dedicated to him, so... So far, I've read: Tigana A Song for Arbonne The Lions of Al-Rassan (just finished this morning) In some ways, his work remind me of the great 19th century romantics in their unabashed trafficking in emotion and melodrama: think Hugo, or Dumas, or Sir Walter Raleigh. The reader's reaction to Kay, I think, may partly be gaged by whether the above writers "do it" for him or not. (Not to say that the reverse is necessarily true; one can very well like the writer's I've named and dislike Kay at the same time.) For my part, Tigana completely bowled me over (one of the top 10 reading experiences in my life, I think), though I've found the subsequent novels less satisfying, if stirring in their own ways. There's so much to say, but I want to hear what others think too. I know opus has read Tigana, at least, and surely you Canadians would know more of Kay than those of us in the U.S.?
  12. glatisant

    Memoirs of a Geisha

    True. In some cases, you just have to guess. To add to the confusion, different translation systems (and perhaps conventions and norms) may hold sway in different countries. There are some preliminary rules of thumb, but they can only take you so far. The ones I know of are these, with qualifications in asterisks: 1) In Chinese, the surname comes before the personal name. 2) The surname almost always consists of one syllable. (e.g. "Zhang," or "Hou") *There are 4-5 two-syllable cases I can think of, but they are rare, and in most cases so archaic as to be irrelevant for our purpose here (e.g. looking at names on IMDB lists). 3) The personal name may range from one syllable to two in length. 4) If the personal name has two syllables: a) Under the Mainland system, it would be joined as one word (e.g. "Yimou"). b ) Under the system used in Taiwan (and I think HK), it would have a hyphen in between (e.g. "Hsiao-hsien"). *I've heard that Taiwan has changed their system very recently (so much so that it hasn't remotely begun to effect the terms of our discussion here). Not sure about HK. Thus if you see a name like "Cui Fengming," for example, you know that "Cui" is the family name and "Fengming" the personal name. If it's a name like "Tzu-yi Chang," "Tzu-yi" would be the personal name and "Chang" the surname. 5) If the personal name has one syllable: Well, you're out of luck. You just have to guess. But here are some (even hazier) generalizations to keep in mind: Most Chinese I know in the US have westernized their names so that the family name comes last, if they haven't decided to take on an American name: it just saves a lot of confusion that way. However, at least in the past, most "famous people" (political figures, actors, athletes, etc) in mainland China have kept with the original formation: family name first, personal name second. Some examples I can think of offhand: Mao Zedong, Jiang Zemin, Bai Ling, Chow Yun-fat, Chen Lu. This may have been out of government pressure or pride; I don't know. Perhaps the norms/strictures are loosening, as may be reflected in Ziyi Zhang's decision to switch her name around; I honestly don't know. But in general, if it's a mainland celebrity primarily known outside the West, I'd err on assuming that the family name goes first. I hope the explanation's clear; sorry that it was longwinded. Is there anyone else here who can add to the list, or correct any mistakes on my part?
  13. glatisant

    Memoirs of a Geisha

    Gong Li's surname is Gong, not Li--just like Ziyi Zhang's name was Zhang Ziyi before it was westernized. I'm 90% sure I'm going to dislike this movie (even aside from the "Ooh look, exotic Asians!" factor, the central romance strikes me as, well, creepy). Nevertheless, some part of me still wants to see it--the same part that likes looking at Vogue and watches The Ten Commandments and Gone With the Wind whenever they're on TV. It's the pretty clothes. And the chance to hear lines like "Moses, you stubborn, splendid adorable Fool!" for the nth time. And I love Gong Li anyway. Even when she's not hissing lines like "I shall destroy you!!" in a Chinese-Japanese-English pangloss. The Village Voice mentions her performance here.
  14. glatisant

    Brokeback Mountain

    According to Newsweek, sounds like Ang Lee is back on form. Are any of the critics on this board planning on reviewing this film? *trying to imagine Christianity Today's inbox should the event occur*
  15. So I'm listening to the version of "Top of the World" on the unreleased Silver Bell, and I'd like to take back the first part of what I wrote. The phrasing choices on the Dixie Chicks cover that I thought were original--the abrupt pause/falling away after each stanza, the climactic outburst near the end of the song--originated in the version recorded here. (Now that I think about it, the Impossible Dream version was recorded after the Home cover, correct?) I still like the instrumental arrangements on the cover, but suffice it to say that my respect for the Chicks' interpretative abilities has just sunk another notch lower. I believe you. I've heard a live version of "Mary" from the Concerts for a Landmine Free World tour, and found it to be superior to the album version as well. She slows the tempo down just a tad, as if ruminating on the words even as she's singing them, to even more transcendent effect. So, um, what are your favourite Patty Griffin songs?
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