Sunday, April 22, 2012

S: The Stranger, The Space Between Us, & Suits

The Stranger by Albert Camus
Genre: literary






It was written in French. I’m recommending Matthew Ward’s translation, done in 1988 or so (as opposed to what I believe was the more common translation, done by an Englishman in the late 1940s). I think the publisher’s description best sums it up: An ordinary man unwittingly gets drawn into a senseless murder on a sundrenched Algerian beach.
 
How it starts: "Maman died today. Or yesterday, maybe. I don’t know."

It’s relatively rare that I come to a classic as an adult, without it already having been ruined for me because I had to write a paper on it for a teacher who saw all sorts of things in it that I didn’t. But I found this book to be more interesting than many classics. At least, until it was “reinterpreted” for me at my book club meeting as representing Albert Camus’ relationship with the philosophy of existentialism (though I’ve since found out that Camus strongly refuted this idea). But I recommend it anyway, as a fascinating story in its own right. This is not a particularly likable protagonist, so if that’s important to you, you should probably skip it. But the way events spiral is, to me, a mark of good storytelling.

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
Genre: general fiction



The Space Between Us centers around Sera, an upper middle class housewife of an abusive husband, and Bhima, a poor woman who has worked in Sera’s household for over twenty years. A life-changing event connects the two of them, and they're forced to make choices they never imagined. The story is set in Bombay, India (Or Mumbai, if you’re below a certain age).

For most of the world outside Europe and the USA, having household staff seems to be the norm, and the relationships between people who know each other as well as family but are most definitely not family is complicated and sometimes painful.

Suits
Genre: Television

This is a fairly new show – the second season will be on television in June. Basic premise: Mike Ross has a photographic memory, and since being kicked out of law school, mostly makes a living by illegally taking the LSAT for people. While doing an (also-illegal) favor for a friend, he stumbles into a job interview for a prestigious law firm, and impresses the attorney so much that he’s offered the job, even though they both know the firm only takes Harvard grads.

So far the show is doing a lot less with Mike’s photographic memory (which was what attracted me to it to begin with) and a lot more with the web of lies he and his boss have spun. Still, I’m looking forward to the second season.



Awesome tag line: "Two lawyers. One degree." And Gina Torres (Zoe from Firefly) plays a founding partner of the law firm. J




10 comments:

  1. I haven't read either books but I have a copy of The Stranger in French kicking around my house somewhere.

    And I agree with you on Suits' use of Mike's memory. I hope they find a good balance in the second season.

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    1. If the language of The Stranger is as simple in French as it is in Matthew Ward's translation, I might be able to muddle my way through it. I think it's worth a try.

      Crossing fingers for Suits, Season Two...

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  2. I like suits too but when people ask me why, I honestly cant say its the storylines. I like the characters though and I think it is well cast. I actually don't like the fact that they openly discriminate by the university you attended - that hardly seems fair! Circumstances may lead you to another university but it doesn't mean you wouldn't be as beneficial. I always find it interesting on what you can and can't discriminate against. Would this even be considered discrimination?

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    1. I agree. So far the storylines don't stand out as truly unique, but the characters just pop.

      LOL - I hadn't thought of it as discrimination, but it seems to fit, right?

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  3. These sound great, I haven't heard of any of them but will look out for them! Thank you for your sweet comment :)

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  4. I like the Stranger, although I think I like his non-fiction essays even more. They're filled with great aphorisms.

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    1. I'll definitely look into his other stuff!

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  5. Hi-I know you've been to my blog and I don't think I've been to yours--Apologies! I am just coming up for A to Z Blog-Air. :-0 Love your site and appreciate the recommendations. (I got "stuck" in the middle of Lolita -- didn't like being in Humbert Humbert's head for that long) so I need a new read. Great ideas...!

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    1. I love your theme - I haven't seen any others similar to it.

      ~shudder~ You're braver than I am. I don't think I could stomach Lolita.

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