Friday, August 24, 2018

Jason Pinter: Fury

I read earlier (eight years ago!) a pleasant paperback novel by Jason Pinter, The Mark, and wanting to read something lightweight I picked up his later novel, Fury (Raivo in Finnish translation). I thought it was better book than The Mark, but I also have some reservations about it.

Fury reads a bit like a private eye novel, since the lead character, Henry Parker, is a newspaper reporter who narrates the story in first person. He meets a stranger, who looks like a homeless person. The stranger says he wants to speak about something important. Parker won't hear the man, but finds out next morning that the man is killed. Then the police come to him and tell him the dead man was his brother. Parker starts to dig into the story, feeling guilt and frustration, since he believes he could've saved his brother's life if he had just stopped and listened to him. And then his father is believed to be the killer and is taken into custody...

Fury is a fast-paced thriller with hardboiled overtones and with sensible amounts of grimness. It's an old-fashioned book, reminiscent of early wrong man novels and films and some classic newspaper stories, though Pinter has tried to bring his heroes into modern day, sometimes with a bit forced results. There are some implausibilities in the book (why won't the stranger say he's Parker's brother in the first place?), and some characters are a bit lifeless. There are some very talkative scenes, but still this is an entertaining book.

This is no Forgotten Book, but here's nevertheless a link to the on-going series of blog posts.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Jonathan Ames: You Were Never Really Here

I had an opportunity to see Lynne Ramsay's latest film You Were Never Really Here on big screen, and though it's shot entirely digitally, it worked at times with great verve and grim beauty. Joaquin Phoenix was very good in the lead as an emotionally wounded man, called Joe, who rescues kidnapped girls who are sold as sex slaves. Something in the ending troubled me, it felt like not everything was resolved successfully, can't really say what it was. 

Same goes for Jonathan Ames's tight novella that works as a basis for the film. The endings are different, Ramsay's is more ambivalent, while with Ames it's clear Joe is going to go on with his mission. Yet if felt a bit like a letdown. Maybe it had to do with the fact that plot-wise the book is not very original. 

There are still lots of things to like in the book: the sparse, even minimalist prose and narration, the writer's resolution not to give any easy psychological explanations or even background, save for some brief moments. Ames clearly knew what he set out to do, even though the ending was somewhat anticlimactic. And man, do I like the fact that the paperback edition I bought had only 97 pages in it! This reminded me of James Sallis's Drive that's only slightly longer.