mintyalice

The Man Who Was Thursday

In Novel on December 8, 2009 at 12:57 am

The Man Who Was Thursday

Author: G. K. Chesterton
Publisher: Penguin Classic

This book was written in 1908, yet it felt so post modern and cinematic (before movie languages were established). I’m surprised it was never adapted on silver screen. I could easily imagine a Triplets of Belleville treatment: a bizarre, nightmarish and grotesquely comedic visuals with caricatured but iconic characters.

It started off as a thriller story about an undercover policeman infiltrating a secret Anarchist society, with some amusing philosophical discussion on chaos vs. order, nihilism and the most dangerous and destructive criminals being the intellectual, educated kind.

Our hero’s descend into the underground secret Anarchist society is a ‘down the rabbit hole’ experience. From then on the story takes on a wild, fantastical turn. The hero took a misty boat ride that is like traveling to another dimension. There he met the highest order of the anarchist society: a motley crew of seven men who’re named after weekdays. The president is Sunday and was described as a frighteningly giant and fat  (is it wrong that I just kept picturing Jabba the Hutt?). I found Monday, aka ‘The Secretary’, oddly attractive! He’s a slim, handsome, pale and goth looking guy with a devilish smirk. The hero also went on great lengths to describe how scary this one guy with dark spectacle is, because it reminded him of people putting coins on corpse’s eyes…that imagination is lost for us contemporary readers (it’s sunglasses, duh!).

Later on the story turn into a chasing game that’s perfect action comedy gold. It’s a blast to see the band of colorful characters chasing each other. At one point there’s even a flying elephant!

The chase eventually escalated to a garden party that’s like a Borgesque Christian allegory. My jaw drop at the sudden nonsensical and fantastical resolution, but the transition was neither abrupt nor unbelievable. I kept thinking of Alejandro Jodorowsk’s Holy Mountain.

Even though the author is a devoted Christian, he pointed out the “神又係佢,鬼又係佢” paradox in Christian theme.

The book is like a lot of things I’ve read/seen before but never together all at the same time, not to mention it predated them all. Somehow I had the impression of it being a detective thriller (because of the author’s Father Brown series), so I’m pleasantly surprise by how fun and crazy it gets.

The packaging of this Penguin “Boys Adventure” edition is just too cool to pass by. Why can’t more books be in this dimension as well?

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Là-bas (The Damned)

In Novel on March 25, 2008 at 12:19 am

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The Damned/Là-bas (1891)

Author: Joris-Karl Huysmans
Publisher: Penguin Classic
Pages: 320 pages
I had this book on my Amazon wish list for a long time even though I didn’t know much about it except for it to be about Gilles de Rais and satanism. When I visited the fascinating Gustave Moreau Museum in Paris and saw the interesting show on author J.K. Huysmans’s fin de siècle (turn-of-the-century) writings in relation to Moreau’s fin de siècle paintings, I finally picked it up.

There’s not much of a plot to this book, in fact it reads more like nonfiction sometimes. But the subject matter is interesting and shocking for its time, hence quite a page turner. The novel starts with the author’s rambling on his dislike for Naturalism through the main character Durtal, a 19th century man bored with unromantic modern life and delved into writing a biography on Gilles de Rais, who’s also known as the “Blue Beard,” the world first known “serial killer” who tortured, raped and killed more than five hundred young boys during the Middle ages. A large part of the novel devoted to Durtal’s biography on Gilles, chronicling his role in aiding Joan of Arc to the very horrific atrocities he committed for Satanism. Dural also attempted to explain “how an honest soldiers and a decent Christian, could suddenly turn into an evil, cowardly, sacrilegious sadist.” These parts are the most captivating parts of the novel. It’s a good source to learn about Gilles de Rais and the medieval time. The author offered some interesting views on the matter through the characters.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch @ The Roxy

In Music on April 20, 2006 at 6:13 pm

hedwigroxy.gifRain was pouring nonstop Friday night and we were lining outside soaking wet sans umbrella at The Roxy Theater to get into the Hedwig and the Antry Inch show. On top of the pricey ticket, The Roxy forced everyone to buy $15 drink tickets when we get in. -_-;;; But it’s all worthwhile. To see Hedwig live is a much different but more fitting (the way it ought to be) experience from watching the film version; it is both a small livehouse rock concert + standup comic. Hedwig’s story is still as hilarious and emotional. Playing Hedwig was the incredible Donovan Leitch, and the one playing the female-as-male bandmate was not Bijou Phillipes as saids on flyer. The tall, dark and handsome Donovan Jr. is amazing, even though he seems lot taller and bigger than the original creator/performer James Cameron Mitchell, he still looks divine as Hedwig. Better yet, at the end when Hedwig striped his drag queen attair and transformed to a rock star, god he was so HOT! *O* His voice is more waspy and deep, making songs like “Wig in a Box” and “Wicked Little Town” very Bowiesque….*LOVE*!!! The audience was great, they were way more animated than a lot of the crowd from the actual rock concerts I’ve been to. Some of the audience were such crazy fans, this one girl can’t stop crying out loud “this song is SO FUCKING GOOD!” after “Wicked little Town” was played. ^^;; The show is just awesome…though Yitzhak’s transformation at the end isn’t as powerful as the film version because her dim entrance was drown in the finale.