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A couple of recs, with a slight caveat - Laura Wise

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October 14th, 2012

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12:35 pm - A couple of recs, with a slight caveat
What-ho on this fall Sunday!

I haven't done this in a while, but I thought I'd provide recs for two (older) works I've recently enjoyed -- and also talk about something I had a bit of trouble with, not the fault of the works themselves but in my own preference.

So, the first: I finally watched David Hare's contemporary spy-thriller Page Eight, which I ordered months and months ago and which has been glowering, neglected, on my DVD shelf ever since. (It's already aired on Masterpiece Theatre here in the US, and the DVD is available to Netflix, under the title Masterpiece Contemporary: Page Eight. I'm sure it's available in the UK as well.) Bill Nighy stars as a veteran MI5 agent who finds himself in the midst of betrayal and treachery first unearthed by his best friend and boss Michael Gambon; others in the cast include Rachel Weisz as his next-door neighbor who isn't exactly what she seems, Judy Davis as Nighy's MI5 bete noire, Saskia Reeves as a v. cool but problematic Home Secretary, Ralph Fiennes as a slightly thuggish Prime Minister.

As that cast list suggests, this spy story is thus not quite the, um, sausage-fest that is Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (both films analyzed here in this Independent article). I very much appreciate the strength and variety of women's roles in the piece, but Page Eight is in the end very much Nighy's show -- so if another late-middle-age-man-in-crisis story annoys you, avoid this one. Otherwise... look, it begins with jazz playing over tracking shots of Bill Nighy walking along the Thames at night, of course it hit me where I lived. ;-)

The second rec: while I was away traveling recently, I was searching for something to read on the plane, and Amazon kindly provided an email/ad for J D Rhoades' mystery novel Lawyers, Guns, and Money. This novel, set in North Carolina, is the first-person narrative of one Andy Cole, a small-town lawyer who finds himself in the midst of betrayal and treachery. Cole's kind of an anti-hero (okay, kind of a dick), but he's very much aware of being a dick and he's trying to do better, helped by his kickass office manager and his newspaper-publisher lover, among other strong female characters. The story's complex and noir, the writing's fun, and Andy does get better -- but the same caveat I gave you for Page Eight applies here, too.

(Here's a link to Rhoades' website, if you're interested in investigating further. I'll be reading more of his work.)

Now that I've recced, I will say this: I'm ready to read (and write) about women as the heroes of their own lives. How 'bout you?

Cheers, and may you find just the stories you need for this beautiful October.

(4 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:October 14th, 2012 10:05 pm (UTC)

[User Picture]
Date:October 14th, 2012 10:16 pm (UTC)
Hurrah for you, L!

Date:October 14th, 2012 10:38 pm (UTC)
Definitely! :-)

Speaking of which, have you seen Homeland? Female spy protagonist!
[User Picture]
Date:October 14th, 2012 10:41 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen Homeland, but will investigate DVD/Netflix options. :-)

Cheers, Gwynne, and a good start to your week!

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