Sunday, December 19, 2010

Book Review - "The Wild Duck"

"The Wild Duck" by Henrik Ibsen, a version by David Eldridge
My grade: A-

This is a short play, initially written by Ibsen in Norwegian. I have not read the original, but came across the Eldridge version of it. I found it very good, with very interesting personages, but in this case, I really wish it was longer and better developed. There is so much material here, and so many great directions that he has begun to go into, but has not fully arrived there. At least not for me. I would love to read a longer, more fully-developed version of this work, with a deeper analysis of the critical situations brought to life.

Book Review - "The Magus"

"The Magus" by John Fowles
My grade: B-

It goes without saying that this book is incredibly talented and very well-written. I won't even bother to say that Fowles has incredible control and skill as a writer. Rather, I will stick to the story and plot itself, wherein lies my problem with this novel/masterpiece. I, too, found the idea initially tantalizing: a magus, a series of unexplained strange events, strange people, etc. And I'll even admit that I remained well captivated through a good three-quarters of the book. But then it got boring. And just a bit (or a lot!) absurd/ridiculously over-the-top. I have to likewise admit: due to my poor knowledge of Greek mythology, many of the allusions were sadly lost on me. In this case, it would have definitely been of a lot of help, if not absolutely crucial to understanding this story.

I likewise found the ending disappointing. I wanted more, needed more. So many pages of mystery, to never really get a full answer. One almost gets the impression that Fowles himself got tired and bored with the story, and slapped an ending on there that wouldn't arouse too many questions; the ending itself is just as mystifying as the story. Perhaps you mythology experts out there could shed some light on all of this.