Moshin Hamid takes the pressing issue of the refugee crisis head-on, with a highly readable and engaging script. The novel explores the lives of a couple who flee their war-torn state in search of a new life. The narrative evolves around Nadia and Saeed, who are besotted with each other. They have a deep entwining relationship and share ideas and resources with each other. Both coming from a cultured background, they have shared interests in art and literature. Their comfortable existence in a metropolitan suburb is shattered by a brutal civil conflict. The tragedy of family loss is also discussed.
David Lynch has said that of all the films he has directed during his career, his 1984 adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune was the only one he truly didn’t like. By the end, he says, he had lost creative control, and did not get the say on the final cut. The film itself is, well, fine. It’s a competent adaptation. It falls far short of what it could have been. During the 1970s, many tried to get their own vision for a Dune adaptation off the ground-- most famously Alejandro Jodoroswky’s version scored by Pink Floyd. So far, no definitive film adaptation exists, but Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming “industrial” version, as Jodorowsky called it, looks set to be the film version of Dune. My reading in 2020 was dominated by Dune; I was a long-time fan of the original but had never explored the sequels. Reflecting on the enduring popularity of Dune, the true greatness of the original novel became clearer than ever.
The world of graphic novels nowadays is more expansive and innovative than ever. Outside the big hitters from the likes of Marvel and Doctor Who, there is a whole myriad of quirky and fascinating work that seems to be getting more and more niche by the minute, so much so that it can be difficult for someone new to the genre to know what’s worth reading. However, with the new American and Canadian ice hockey season just getting underway, one series that deserves spotlighting is Ngozi Ukazu’s Check, Please!, a nostalgic and heartwarming story about a university hockey team, pies, growing up, and above all, friendship.
I’ll be honest, 2020 wasn’t a great year in books for me. Lockdown should have been the perfect opportunity to crack on with some reading and finally meet my Goodreads goal of a book a week (last accomplished in 2015), but that didn’t really happen. While the books I read last year were mostly great, the desire to sink into a good book was clouded by the constant anxiety of the state of things. It’s hard to commit to a book a week when you feel like you’ve got hundreds of other, more important things to sort out to keep everything ticking over as the world shifts around you. So, with the situation still constantly shifting, how do you get out of that hole and start reading great literature again?
I have the answer: Wuthering Heights. Hear me out.
Ferenc Karinthy was a novelist, playwright, journalist and apparently water polo champion from Hungary. He died in 1992, leaving over a dozen novels behind, but it wasn’t until 2008 that his work was first translated into English. And so it was that Metropole began its march across Europe, a dystopian novel fittingly about the rapid acceleration of globalisation, the blurring of nationalities and the loss of identity. With its stark and bludgeoning writing style, it’s a reading experience as confusing and bewildering as the megacity dystopia it depicts.